Techno Trends

The big ideas that are changing everything

Bendy Batteries

In recent years, portable electronic devices have been revolutionized with flexible electronic circuits and even bendable displays. However, one bottleneck to reducing size and increasing flexibility has been the batteries needed to run them. So developers are looking at a class of devices known as super-capacitors to create power supplies that are smaller, lighter and thinner than ever.

Super-capacitors have nearly the same storage capacity as batteries but can be discharged more quickly, making power more readily available. Although they have been around for a while, the materials used to manufacture them can be costly. Recently, scientists investigated using manganese dioxide as a less expensive and more eco-friendly alternative with excellent results. The manganese dioxide is vaporized with an electron beam and then the gaseous atoms are allowed to precipitate. Layers of gold are also incorporated to improve conductivity. The result is a high energy density power supply that measures less than a half-centimeter wide and can deliver more energy per unit volume than currently available super-capacitors.

For information: Oliver Schmidt, Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research, Institute for Integrative Nanosciences. Postfach 27 01 16, D-01171 Dresden, Germany; phone: +49-351-4659800; fax: +49-351-4659540; email:; Web site:   

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