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Flexible see-through battery power

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March 21, 2007

Flexible see-through battery power

Flexible see-through battery power

March 22, 2007 All is no longer as it seems – the clear flexible plastic in the image is a battery – it is a polymer based rechargeable battery made by Japanese scientists. Drs Hiroyuki Nishide, Hiroaki Konishi and Takeo Suga at Waseda University have designed the battery – which consists of a redox-active organic polymer film around 200 nanometres thick. Nitroxide radical groups are attached, which act as charge carriers. Because of its high radical density, the battery has a high charge/discharge capacity. This is just one of many advantages the ‘organic radical’ battery has over other organic based materials according to the researchers. The power rate performance is strikingly high – it only takes one minute to fully charge the battery and it has a long cycle life, often exceeding 1,000 cycles.

The team made the thin polymer film by a solution-processable method – a soluble polymer with the radical groups attached is “spin-coated” onto a surface. After UV irradiation, the polymer then becomes crosslinked with the help of a bisazide crosslinking agent.

A drawback of some organic radical polymers is the fact they are soluble in the electrolyte solution which results in self-discharging of the battery – but the polymer must be soluble so it can be spin-coated.

However, the photocrosslinking method used by the Japanese team overcomes the problem and makes the polymer mechanically tough.

Dr Nishide said: “This has been a challenging step, since most crosslinking reactions are sensitive to the nitroxide radical.”

Professor Peter Skabara, an expert in electroactive materials at the University of Strathclyde , praised the high stability and fabrication strategy of the polymer-based battery. “The plastic battery plays a part in ensuring that organic device technologies can function in thin film and flexible form as a complete package.” The news is reported in the latest edition of The Royal Society of Chemistry journal Chemical Communications.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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