Skip to comments.Pin-sized battery printed in 3D packs a powerful punch
Posted on 06/24/2013 2:17:19 AM PDT by neverdem
Miniature lithium-ion device could power medical devices or miniature robots.
A new lithium-ion battery is one of the smallest ever made and the first battery to be created with a three-dimensional printer. Measuring less than a millimetre on each side, it fits comfortably on the head of pin and could potentially power tiny medical devices or miniature robots.
3D printers make objects from the ground up by depositing successive layers of material on top of each other. Most 3D printers manipulate plastic, which is useful for prototyping or crafting toys and knickknacks. Making a working battery required a custom machine that laid down new materials loaded with lithium-metal-oxide particles.
"We're trying to take 3D printing to the next level by printing functional materials," says Jennifer Lewis, a materials scientist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, whose team presented the microbattery 17 June in Advanced Materials1.
While squeezing out the nanoparticles like toothpaste, the printer's nozzle drew a pair of five-fingered electrodes interlocked together like hands clasped in prayer. The paste hardened and the process was repeated, again and again, to add more layers and thicken the rechargeable battery.
The final product included up to 16 strata submerged in an electrolyte solution and weighed less than 100 microgrammes. Yet it stored almost as much energy, gram for gram, as larger lithium-ion batteries that run laptops and electric cars. And the power it dished out, 2.7 milliwatts per square centimeter of area covered, rivalled the capabilities of other cutting-edge microbatteries developed in recent years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology2 and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign3.
Printable batteries also promise to be especially adaptable. With a few tweaks, Lewis could super-size her battery. Or she could tailor its shape to suit a particular application...
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
3d printers are turning out to be the most amazing invention,
i still have to remind myself they are on the verge of printing kidneys for replacement...and then this..the range is astounding..
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
3D Printers are no more amazing than the inkjet printer attached to your computer.
The amazing thing is the ingenuity and entrepreneurship displayed by those adapting them to new uses.