Beyond batteries: Storing power in a sheet of paper

aper, but its made in a very intelligent way, said paper co-author Robert Linhardt, the Ann and John H. Broadbent Senior Constellation Professor of Biocatalysis and Metabolic Engineering at Rensselaer.

Were not putting pieces together its a single, integrated device, he said. The components are molecularly attached to each other: the carbon nanotube print is embedded in the paper, and the electrolyte is soaked into the paper. The end result is a device that looks, feels, and weighs the same as paper.

The creation of this unique nanocomposite paper drew from a diverse pool of disciplines, requiring expertise in materials science, energy storage, and chemistry. Along with Linhardt, authors of the paper include Pulickel M. Ajayan, professor of materials science and engineering, and Omkaram Nalamasu, professor of chemistry with a joint appointment in materials science and engineering. Senior research specialist Victor Pushparaj, along with postdoctoral research associates Shaijumon M. Manikoth, Ashavani Kumar, and Saravanababu Murugesan, were co-authors and lead researchers of the project. Other co-authors include research associate Lijie Ci and Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center Laboratory Manager Robert Vajtai.

The researchers used ionic liquid, essentially a liquid salt, as the batterys electrolyte. Its important to note that ionic liquid contains no water, which means theres nothing in the batteries to freeze or evaporate. This lack of water allows the paper energy storage devices to withstand extreme temperatures, Kumar said.

Along with use in small handheld electronics, the paper batteries light weight could make them ideal for use in automobiles, aircraft, and even boats. The paper also could be molded into different shapes, such as a car door, which would enable important new engineering innovations.

Plus, because of the high paper content and lack of toxic chemicals, its environmentally safe, Shaijumon said. <

Contact: Michael Mullaney
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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