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Folded paper lithium-ion battery increases energy density by 14 times

Could the solution to the impending battery crunch be… origami? Scientists at Arizona State University have created a lithium-ion battery out of carbon nanotube-coated paper — and then, by folding it like a map, they have increased the battery’s energy density by 14 times.

We should probably start with the fact that this foldable lithium-ion battery is made out of paper. As you’ve probably surmised, it’s not possible to bend a conventional lithium battery, because it has numerous rigid parts (the carbon anode, the protective casing). To create a paper-based battery, the scientists started with a KimWipe (a porous lint-free paper towel), coated it with polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) to improve adhesion of carbon nanotubes — and then dunked the PVDF-coated paper into a solution of carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Powders of lithium titanate oxide (LTO) and lithium cobalt oxide (LCO) — standard lithium battery electrodes — are sandwiched between two sheets of CNT-imbued paper. Thin foils of copper and aluminium placed above and below the sheets of paper complete the battery.
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