A battery with a thickness of just 1.8 micrometers could be a solution for ultra-thin, ultra-light energy storage for small devices. At 1.8 micrometers, it is thinner than a strand of spider silk and is one tenth the thickness of the thinnest solar cells available. It is also elastic, similar to spider silk.
The device is not just a battery but an incredibly thin solar cell as well, which means it can gather its own charge.
Smart Planet writes, "In order to create the battery, the scientists applied ink containing an organic semiconductor to plastic film that measures 1.4 micrometers in thickness. According to the researchers, the thinnest battery to date was 25 micrometers. One gram of the solar battery produces 10 watts of energy. The efficiency of conversion from solar power to electricity is 4.2 percent, substantially lower than typical solar panels. However, the new battery can function without conversion rate drops when folded or bent. According to the team, the spider-silk soar batteries can also be made cheaply."
According to the researchers, this miniscule solar cell and battery could power small personal devices such as air quality sensors. Or perhaps, larger versions could be used to power electronics in remote or hard-to-access places such as sensors on bridges or towers. Additionally, it is a durable battery.
Tsuyoshi Sekitani from the University of Tokyo states, "Power generation by solar cells increases with their size. As this device is soft, it is less prone to damage by bending even if it gets bigger."
The researchers hope that within the next five years, they will be able to increase the solar cell's efficiency to a rate that makes it competitive in the market.