Researchers at the Stanford University have developed a completely transparent lithium-ion battery, which is extremely thin and flexible. The newly designed battery is the size of a Listerine breath mint strip and almost clear like the Saran Wrap. The researchers mentioned that the idea for this type of a battery to make the Apple dream of transparent products a reality in the future. Yi Cui, who is a battery expert, an associate professor of materials science, and was a part of the product, wants to talk to Steve Jobs on this topic.
One of the challenges faced in developing a completely see-through battery was to use non-transparent materials to develop a transparent battery. Moreover, this problem was augmented by the non-availability of alternative materials having transparency properties. The researchers who developed this type of a battery found the solution to this problem by keeping the size of the non-transparent components very small that made these invisible to the naked eyes.
According to the scientists who developed this transparent battery, the non-transparent components of the battery have been maintained at lower than fifty microns. This provides the feeling of appearing transparent when viewed with a naked eye. The normal maximum resolving power of the eyes of an individual ranges between fifty microns and hundred microns.
The scientists have designed a framework that resembles a mesh-like structure for the electrode of the new battery. The size of every line in the mesh-like framework is approximately thirty-five microns in width. The light passes through the transparent gaps that are present within the grids. The thinness of each of these grid lines provides the complete structure an appearance of being transparent.
The scientists used a three-staged process to achieve this feel of transparency. Since regular materials were not suitable, an alternative rubbery substance called polyethylene siloxane was used. However, because this substance is not conducive, the scientists poured silicon molds to create the mesh framework. Finally, a special transparent compound was placed between the electrodes to complete the process.
However, the newly designed transparent lithium-ion battery is not powerful to power a laptop. Nonetheless, the transparent battery is powerful enough to power a camera. The scientists are very confident of making the battery strong enough to power a laptop in the near future. Moreover, the cost of these lithium-ion batteries is as competitive as the regular batteries that are presently available. Therefore, these have a tremendous potential for being applied in various consumer electronics products.