Researchers at the Pohang University of Science & Technology (PosTech) and the Korea Institute of Materials Science have demonstrated a flexible, high-capacity rechargeable battery which weighs less than a tenth of a traditional battery.
The team's work began with a simple observation: There exist flexible batteries, and there exist high-capacity batteries, but there are no flexible high-capacity batteries — the sort of batteries you'd need to have for a smartwatch or similar wearable to last longer than a few days, for instance.
The solution came in a series of developments, including the replacement of a traditional graphite anode with a monolithic organic equivalent — and opted for single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) aerogels to build up a three-dimensional structure with a low weight yet a high electrical conductivity.
"We can lower the weight of a rechargeable battery enormously by using this newly developed monolithic electrode with SWCNT organic materials," claims project lead Professor Soojin Park. "This can overcome the limitations of the conventional rechargeable battery and can realize flexibility and weight lightening of an organic battery."
The resulting battery design is flexible, around ten times lighter than a traditional battery of equivalent capacity, and has proven stable over 800 charge-discharge cycles. It is not, however, yet ready for production — and thus far the researchers have not indicated a timescale to get the technology ready for the masses.
The researchers' paper has been published in the journal ACS Nano.