Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists build battery in a nanowire: Hybrid energy storage device is as small as it can possibly get

Date:
August 1, 2011
Source:
Rice University
Summary:
Scientists have packed an entire lithium ion energy storage device into a single nanowire. The researchers believe their creation is as small as such devices can possibly get, and could be valuable as a rechargeable power source for new generations of nanoelectronics.

An ultrathin battery/supercapacitor hybrid contains thousands of nanowires, each of which is a fully functional battery. The Rice University lab of Pulickel Ajayan developed the device.
Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

The world at large runs on lithium ion batteries. New research at Rice University shows that tiny worlds may soon do the same.

Related Articles


The Rice lab of Professor Pulickel Ajayan has packed an entire lithium ion energy storage device into a single nanowire, as reported this month in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters. The researchers believe their creation is as small as such devices can possibly get, and could be valuable as a rechargeable power source for new generations of nanoelectronics.

In their paper, researchers described testing two versions of their battery/supercapacitor hybrid. The first is a sandwich with nickel/tin anode, polyethylene oxide (PEO) electrolyte and polyaniline cathode layers; it was built as proof that lithium ions would move efficiently through the anode to the electrolyte and then to the supercapacitor-like cathode, which stores the ions in bulk and gives the device the ability to charge and discharge quickly.

The second packs the same capabilities into a single nanowire. The researchers built centimeter-scale arrays containing thousands of nanowire devices, each about 150 nanometers wide. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter, thousands of times smaller than a human hair.

Ajayan's team has been inching toward single-nanowire devices for years. The researchers first reported the creation of three-dimensional nanobatteries last December. In that project, they encased vertical arrays of nickel-tin nanowires in PMMA, a widely used polymer best known as Plexiglas, which served as an electrolyte and insulator. They grew the nanowires via electrodeposition in an anodized alumina template atop a copper substrate. They widened the template's pores with a simple chemical etching technique that created a gap between the wires and the alumina, and then drop-coated PMMA to encase the wires in a smooth, consistent sheath. A chemical wash removed the template and left a forest of electrolyte-encased nanowires.

In that battery, the encased nickel-tin was the anode, but the cathode had to be attached on the outside.

The new process tucks the cathode inside the nanowires, said Ajayan, a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science. In this feat of nanoengineering, the researchers used PEO as the gel-like electrolyte that stores lithium ions and also serves as an electrical insulator between nanowires in an array.

After much trial and error, they settled on an easily synthesized polymer known as polyaniline (PANI) as their cathode. Drop-coating the widened alumina pores with PEO coats the insides, encases the anodes and leaves tubes at the top into which PANI cathodes could also be drop-coated. An aluminum current collector placed on top of the array completes the circuit.

"The idea here is to fabricate nanowire energy storage devices with ultrathin separation between the electrodes," said Arava Leela Mohana Reddy, a research scientist at Rice and co-author of the paper. "This affects the electrochemical behavior of the device. Our devices could be a very useful tool to probe nanoscale phenomenon."

The team's experimental batteries are about 50 microns tall -- about the diameter of a human hair and almost invisible when viewed edge-on, Reddy said. Theoretically, the nanowire energy storage devices can be as long and wide as the templates allow, which makes them scalable.

The nanowire devices show good capacity; the researchers are fine-tuning the materials to increase their ability to repeatedly charge and discharge, which now drops off after a about 20 cycles.

"There's a lot to be done to optimize the devices in terms of performance," said the paper's lead author, Sanketh Gowda, a chemical engineering graduate student at Rice. "Optimization of the polymer separator and its thickness and an exploration of different electrode systems could lead to improvements."

Rice graduate student Xiaobo Zhan is a co-author of the paper.

The Hartley Family Foundation, Rice University, National Institutes of Health, Army Research Office and Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative supported the research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rice University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sanketh R. Gowda, Arava Leela Mohana Reddy, Xiaobo Zhan, Pulickel M. Ajayan. Building Energy Storage Device on a Single Nanowire. Nano Letters, 2011; 110722095122082 DOI: 10.1021/nl2017042

Cite This Page:

Rice University. "Scientists build battery in a nanowire: Hybrid energy storage device is as small as it can possibly get." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110729175607.htm>.
Rice University. (2011, August 1). Scientists build battery in a nanowire: Hybrid energy storage device is as small as it can possibly get. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110729175607.htm
Rice University. "Scientists build battery in a nanowire: Hybrid energy storage device is as small as it can possibly get." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110729175607.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Forensic Holodeck Creates 3D Crime Scenes

Forensic Holodeck Creates 3D Crime Scenes

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 3, 2015) A holodeck is no longer the preserve of TV sci-fi classic Star Trek, thanks to researchers from the Institute of Forensic Medicine Zurich, who have created what they say is the first system in the world to visualise the 3D data of forensic scans. Jim Drury saw it in operation. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Plane Passes New Test Ahead of World Tour

Solar Plane Passes New Test Ahead of World Tour

AFP (Mar. 2, 2015) A solar-powered plane made a third successful test flight in the United Arab Emirates on Monday ahead of a planned round-the-world tour to promote alternative energy. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Electric Hydrofoiling Watercraft Delivers Eco-Friendly Thrills

Electric Hydrofoiling Watercraft Delivers Eco-Friendly Thrills

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 2, 2015) The Quadrofoil is a high-tech electric personal watercraft that its makers call a &apos;sports car for the water&apos;. When it hits 10 km/h, the Slovenian-engineered Quadrofoil is lifted above the water onto four wing-like hydrofoils where it &apos;flies&apos; above the surface with minimal water resistance. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Everything You Need To Know About Mobile Payments In 2015

Everything You Need To Know About Mobile Payments In 2015

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) This year, mobile payments might finally catch on. Here are the things you need to know to stay on top of the latest developments. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins