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Researchers Create Transparent Batteries

While we already have transparent displays, most of the circuitry and especially the batteries are not. However, Stanford researchers claim to have created the first transparent lithium-ion batteries by replacing the standard copper or aluminum foundation of a battery with a transparent silicone polymer, PDMS.

The researchers then "evaporated" a metal film over the PDMS trenches to create a conductive layer. A solution containing tiny chemical electrode models was poured into the trenches, while one piece of polymer is using positive electrodes and another negatives electrodes. In the next step, the scientists developed a transparent gel between the electrodes, which serves both as electrolyte as well as separator between the electrodes. The researchers said that the result is a battery that is about 62 percent transparent.

The problem is that this battery does not store a lot of power and is limited at about 20 watt hours per liter of electrolyte at this time, which is about comparable to a nickel-cadmium battery. More power can be added by stacking batteries on top of each other, which reduces the transparency of a battery to about 60% with three layers.

A commercial devices using the technology is not in sight yet. And it appears that cool gadgets were not the only motivation to create such a battery: "It's very exciting for doing fundamental scientific research," said Yi Cui, an associate professor of materials science and engineering and of photon science at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. "You can study what is happening inside batteries since they are transparent now."

  • jacobdrj
    Super cool research tool, indeed...
    Reply
  • redhotbd
    I don't know, the only way I see this benefiting a consumer is by them taking the back cover off their device and saying 'Looks friends, this is the future, when devices run off NOTHING...'
    O_o
    Reply
  • Onus
    Think of a pair of "glasses" that actually contain a HUD. As little power as LCDs use, this would let you fit a usable power source into the lenses.
    Reply
  • datawrecker
    jtt283Think of a pair of "glasses" that actually contain a HUD. As little power as LCDs use, this would let you fit a usable power source into the lenses.
    All for this.
    Reply
  • house70
    I believe the main trend should be toward increasing the battery's capacity. Transparent batteries do not have a future if not accompanied by increase in capacity. This seems a step backwards. Cool research, though, but only that.
    Reply
  • TheCapulet
    house70I believe the main trend should be toward increasing the battery's capacity. Transparent batteries do not have a future if not accompanied by increase in capacity. This seems a step backwards. Cool research, though, but only that.I think this type of battery is outside of the consumer electronics scope, and more in line with military and industrial technology.

    Like Jtt283 said, transparent displays containing this type of technology could serve three purposes at once. A transparent HUD display, a protecting tintable layer, and a power source. This is the kind of technology that will make wireless HUD glasses and goggles a reality.

    Not only that; if scientists can better see the process that these types of batteries go through in such a way, it could lead to a better understanding of the technology as a whole, which will lead to better capacity and reliability.
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    In other news, scientists add glitter to plastic and think it is pretty. General public goes wild while the rest of us just don't care.
    Reply
  • nebun
    if it was a mechanical watch then yes, but i don't see the reason for transparent batteries...fail
    Reply
  • cwolf78
    "if it was a mechanical watch then yes, but i don't see the reason for transparent batteries...fail"

    Pffft... anyways, I guess this takes us one step closer to phones like these.

    http://wmpoweruser.com/cool-transparent-windows-mobile-concept-phone/
    Reply
  • alidan
    am i the only one who things transparent screens are retarded?

    on a cellphone, hold the phone how you normally would. wow, its transparent so you can see your hand better.

    on a laptop, well, you have that movie going, but its hard to see because you are distracted and are looking through it.

    on glasses, ok, you realy want this kind of tech? you want teenagers who drive to use a computer in their f***ing glasses? they already are so stupid they go 90+mph when they think no cops are around (what my friends did/still do) and are already not watching the road to text, you want to add glasses with screens? now in the professional field, it could be use in airplanes, but realty unnecessary, could be used in cars to replace looking away from the road to see mph and such, but thats more of a windshield thing, not a glasses.

    here let me point out tech that would be SO much better to research.

    1, a non reflective surface. there has to be a kind of surface that you can look at it, and it will refuse to reflect anything, but let light through. this would be a godsend for laptops/tablets/phones

    2, head mounted displays. and not something thats a giant helmate. i mean like small ones, that are wireless, and can display a natural 3d. this could effectively replace your tv or your pc monitor

    3, getting higher end displays down in cost.
    Reply