Researchers create ‘paper thin’ battery, literally

CHICAGO, Aug 13, 2007 (AFP) – US researchers said Monday they have invented a lightweight paper battery that could serve as an enhanced power storage device for the next generation of consumer electronic devices. The battery produces electricity in the same way as the conventional lithium-ion batteries that power so many of today’s gadgets, but all the components have been incorporated into a lightweight, flexible sheet of paper.

An early prototype of the device, just big enough to be held between thumb and forefinger, kicks out 2.5 volts, enough juice to power a small fan, or illuminate a light, and its inventors say the battery can be easily scaled up to provide enough power to run any number of electronic gadgets.

“You can stack one sheet on top of another to boost the power output,” said Robert Linhardt, a biology and chemistry professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and a project team member.

“We’ve already experimented with 10 sheets, but there’s nothing to stop you using 500, and they can be rolled, bent or folded into any shape or space you like. There are endless design possibilities.”

As manufacturers strive to pack more functionality into smaller and smaller