It’s finally happened: Now even paper can be “smart,” with the help of new paper-based lithium-ion batteries developed by Stanford materials scientists. The bendable batteries could power electronic newspapers and support other developments in “paper” electronics, and they could even provide smart packaging — so those grubby marketers can know even more about you. The batteries are a mere 300 microns thick and they are recyclable to boot.
Tech whizzes, here’s how the batteries work: researchers coated a solid support with carbon nanotubes, then coated them with a film of a lithium compound. The film was then stuck to both sides of a piece of paper. The lithium works as electrodes and the carbon tubes serve as current collectors; the paper is the electrode separator.
Photo © Yi Cui