A strategy for the creation of unusually stretchable batteries is presented in Nature Communications this week. By combining suitable materials with deformable electrical interconnects, reversible stretching of 300% is demonstrated, which may prove critical in bringing flexible electronic products to market.
One of the great barriers to achieving mechanically versatile portable electronic devices is the design of a power source that can withstand both bending and stretching, whilst retaining its energy storage performance. John Rogers and his group have overcome this difficult issue through a set of design criteria. These involve sandwiching electrical interconnects between layers of soft silicon rubber, creating a device that can be both readily stretched and bent. Such a design has the added advantage of contactless charging, removing the need for connecting a plug into the device.
The enhanced functionality displayed by these batteries has the potential to enable the design of a range of unique devices, including robotic skins and wearable health monitors.