A Battery You Can See ThroughSunday, July 31, 2011
Researchers at Stanford University have made fully transparent batteries, the last missing component needed to make transparent displays and other electronic devices.
Researchers have previously made transparent variations on other major classes of electronics, including transistors and the components used to control displays, but not yet batteries. "And if you can't make the battery transparent, you can't make the gadget transparent," says Cui (project lead, Stanford University).
Fabrication is also tricky, since the usual methods for making components at this resolution require harsh chemical processes that damage battery materials. The Stanford group instead used a relatively simple method to make the transparent mesh electrodes, which are held together inside a clear, squishy polymer called PDMS.
So far, his lab's prototypes can store 20 watt-hours per liter, about as much energy as a nickel-cadmium battery, but Cui expects to improve this by an order of magnitude, in part by reducing the thickness of the polymer substrate, and by making the trenches that hold the electrode materials deeper.
So the day is not far when we will see our fingers busy in some sort of transparent gadgets...:)