Will we soon be plugging our mobile phone into our t-shirt instead of putting in a battery? This vision is not totally out of reach: the first steps in this direction have already been taken.
Now a team led by Zhong Lin Wang at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, USA) and Jong Min Kim of Samsung Electronics in South Korea is introducing a prototype for a flexible energy storage device that can be worked into textiles. As the scientists report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, this supercapacitor is made of a very special arrangement of zinc oxide nanowires grown on conventional fibers.
Although smaller, lighter components are constantly being developed, most devices for energy generation and storage are much too bulky and heavy for increasingly miniaturized electronic devices of the future. Supercapacitors are an interesting alternative to batteries and rechargeable batteries for energy storage. They can be recharged almost endlessly and extremely fast; however, previous examples have not been flexible or light enough.
The research team has now developed a prototype for a high-efficiency fiber-based electrochemical micro-supercapacitor that uses zinc oxide nanowires as electrodes. The substrate for one of the electrode is a flexible, fine plastic wire; for the other electrode it is a fiber made of Kevlar. Kevlar is the material used to make bulletproof vests. The researchers were able to grow zinc oxide nanowires on each of these substrates. Additional coatings with materials like gold and manganese oxide could further improve the charge capacitance. Using tweezers, the researchers then wrapped each of the plastic wires with a Kevlar fiber. This assembly was then embedded in a solid gel electrolyte that separates the two electrodes and allows for the necessary charge transport. A bundle of these fibers could be processed to form a thread.
Zinc oxide has special advantages over conventional supercapacitor materials,: it can be grown on any desired substrate in any form at low temperature (below 100 °C) and it is both biocompatible and environmentally friendly.
A particularly intriguing application would be the use of these new charge-storage media in combination with flexible fiber nanogenerators, which Wang and his team have previously developed. The wearer’s heartbeat and steps, or even a light wind, would be enough to move the piezoelectric zinc oxide nanowires in the fibers, generating electrical current.
In the form of a “power shirt” such a system could deliver enough current for small electronic devices, such as mobile phones or small sensors like those used to warn firemen of toxins.
PS: The concept of an issue is a paradigm of the print world. Nowadays, most readers check the scientific literature for articles published online by using search engines and no longer care about bound issues. Or do they? Wiley-VCH now present yet another innovation in scientific publishing: Browse issues of Angewandte Chemie and a selection of its sister journals on screen as you would in print and broaden your horizons and be inspired by what the search engines do not find for you. On your desktop computer or your mobile device at http://www.wiley-vch.de/util/chem-epaper/
Author: Zhong Lin Wang, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta (USA), http://www.nanoscience.gatech.edu/zlwang/wang.html
Title: Fiber Supercapacitors Made of Nanowire-Fiber Hybrid Structures for Wearable/Flexible Energy Storage
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201006062
Zhong Lin Wang | Angewandte Chemie
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences