BASF Sees Nanotechnology as Innovation Driver in Numerous Applications


1x2 logo smBASF increased spending on research and development to €1.8 billion (2012: €1.7 billion) in 2013. “In absolute terms, we lead the field in the chemical industry with our research and development expenditures,” said Dr. Andreas Kreimeyer, member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE and Research Executive Director, at the Research Press Conference on the topic ”Nanotechnology: Small dimensions – great opportunities” in Ludwigshafen.
BASF has a workforce of around 10,650 employees working in international and interdisciplinary teams on around 3,000 research projects to find answers to the challenges of the future and secure sustainable profitable growth for the company.
The innovative strength of BASF is demonstrated once more by sales of new products introduced onto the market within the past five years: Last year these amounted to about €8 billion. In 2013 alone, the company launched more than 300 new products on the market. The patent portfolio also reflects the success of the company’s research activities. With 1,300 patents filed last year and about 151,000 registrations and intellectual property rights worldwide, BASF is at the top of the Patent Asset Index for the fifth time in succession.
New research laboratories in North America and Asia
In future, BASF is expecting strong impulses from the regions for its innovation pipeline. By 2020, 50% of its research activities are to be conducted outside Europe. In 2013, BASF came another step closer to this goal and increased the proportion of its research outside Europe to 28% (2012: 27%). To drive the globalization of research further forward, the company has, among other things, established six new laboratories at different locations in Asia and the United States. Moreover, for example in cooperation with highly innovative universities, BASF has founded the “California Research Alliance by BASF” (CARA) in California. Here, the main research focus is on the biosciences and new inorganic materials for the areas energy, electronics and renewable resources. In Asia, the company has, for example, joined forces with top-ranking universities from China, Japan and Korea to found the research initiative ”Network for Advanced Materials Open Research” (NAO). In this joint project, research is underway on materials for a wide range of applications, including products for the automotive, construction and water industries and for the wind energy sector.
BASF collaborates in a global network with more than 600 outstanding universities, research institutes and companies. “Interdisciplinary and international cooperations are a decisive element of BASF’s Know-how Verbund,” added Kreimeyer. Offering intelligent solutions for the challenges of the future based on new systems and functional materials requires not only interdisciplinary approaches but also the use of cross-sectional technologies like nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology – helping to develop solutions for the future
Nanotechnology is concerned with the development, manufacture and use of materials that have structures, particles, fibers or platelets smaller than 100 nanometers and so possess novel properties. Many innovations in areas such as automotive technology, energy, electronics or construction and medicine would not be possible without nanotechnology. BASF uses this technology to develop new solutions and improve existing products.
High-performance insulation materials
Nanopores provide the specific material characteristics in one of BASF’s new high-performance insulation material. Slentite™ is the first high-performance insulation panel based on polyurethane, which needs only half the space compared to traditional materials while offering the same insulation performance. Up to 90% of the volume of the organic aerogel consists of air-filled pores which have a diameter of only 50 to 100 nanometers. As a result, the air molecules’ freedom of movement is limited and the transfer of heat is reduced. The high-performance insulation material can be used, for example, in the construction sector for old and new buildings.
Microencapsulation
One BASF research field in which nanotechnology plays a key role focuses on the development of formulations of active components, especially on microencapsulation. Active substances are thereby enclosed with a wax, polymer or oil-based protective shell. This enables the actives to be used more specifically for the application concerned and function more effectively. The important factor here is the controlled release of the actives. Researchers at BASF have succeeded in designing the shell according to the application need, making it only a few nanometers thick or nanostructured. This allows control of the time and speed at which the active substances can be released at the desired target location.
A material that could contribute to the key technological progress of Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs), displays and even batteries and catalysts is graphene. It is closely related to graphite, which is used, for example, in pencil leads. Unlike graphite, graphene consists of only one layer of carbon atoms, making it less than one nanometer thin. This material is a very efficient electricity and heat conductor and is very stable but also elastic and flexible. Because it is so thin, the actually black material appears transparent. An international team of researchers is currently exploring the scientific basis and application potential of innovative carbon-based materials like graphene at the joint research and development platform of BASF and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany.

Color filters

BASF’s new red color, Irgaphor® Red S 3621 CF, ensures an excellent image quality of liquid crystal displays (LCD). It is used in color filters for notebook, computer and television screens. The smaller the particles are, the more intense the brightness of screens becomes. BASF has succeeded in manufacturing its product with a particle size of less than 40 nanometers. The tiny particles enable considerably less scattering of light in the color filter. Compared to traditional color products, BASF’s new red doubles the contrast ratio of displays. This leads to a sharp, pure-colored, high-contrast and thus brilliant image.

Safely utilizing the potentials of nanotechnology
Accessing new technologies requires an objective assessment of both the opportunities and risks. In addition to the manufacture and development of nanomaterials, another research priority is the risk assessment of nanoparticles. For about ten years, BASF has therefore been pursuing safety research with nanomaterials. During this time the company has conducted more than 150 own toxicology and ecotoxicology studies and participated in approximately 30 different projects with external partners.
Open dialog for a common understanding
Innovation-friendly social and political conditions are decisive in allowing the potentials of nanotechnology to be utilized. “Public discussion is very important for us. We actively seek dialog, also with critical opinion leaders,” said Kreimeyer. For example, BASF has – as the first and so far only company in Germany – established a regularly held dialog forum focusing on nanotechnology. At these events, BASF employees conduct discussions with various representatives of environmental and consumer organizations, labor unions, scientific institutions and churches to improve understanding of current concerns, explain opportunities, answer questions and jointly identify constructive solutions.
About BASF
BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Through science and innovation, we enable our customers in nearly every industry to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring nutrition and improving quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF had sales of about €74 billion in 2013 and over 112,000 employees as of the end of the year. Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at http://www.basf.com.
Source: BASF (press release)

Read more: BASF Sees Nanotechnology as Innovation Driver in Numerous Applications http://www.nanowerk.com/nanotechnology-news/newsid=35755.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29#ixzz32wvktWxO

Quantum Dots Among Hottest Technologies Showcasing at Display Week 2014


atomsinananoQD Vision executives to present advances in quantum dots at this year’s global electronic display technology event

 

 

LEXINGTON, Mass. & SAN DIEGO, Calif., May 20, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Today, QD Vision, Inc. , the leading manufacturer of quantum dot optical components for LCD products, announced that co-founders Seth Coe-Sullivan and Jonathan Steckel will be presenting two symposium sessions on quantum dot technology as part of the Society for Information Display (SID) Display Week, June 1-6, 2014 in San Diego, California.

 

The four-day symposium features hundreds of leading display industry papers from around the world in multiple technical sessions. It includes a plenary session, presentations in parallel sessions, a poster session organized around selected topics, and author interview sessions each afternoon (with demonstration models). The two symposium sessions that will be represented by QD Vision include:

Electroluminescent Quantum Dots
Tuesday, June 03 / 10:50 – 12:10 / Room 5
Seth Coe-Sullivan will co-chair this session. Seth and Jonathan Steckel are also co-authors on two papers to be presented by the University of Maryland and Brunel University entitled, “Red Quantum Dots under the Electron Microscope,” and “Cathodoluminescence Quantum Efficiency of Quantum Dot Thin Films.”

Photoluminescent Quantum Dots
Tuesday, June 03 / 02:00 – 03:20 / Room 5
Jonathan Steckle will present an invited paper, “Quantum Dots: The Ultimate Down-Conversion Material for LCD Displays.”

Seth Coe-Sullivan will also be participating as a panelist on the SID Investors Conference session, “Quantum Dots Poised to Extend LCDs’ Runway,” to be held on Tuesday, June 3 from 3:50 – 4:50 PM.

QD Vision engineers will be on site at Display Week (Booth #1813). Stop by for a visit to learn more about the benefits of quantum dots. To schedule a private demonstration contact Lea Tzimoulis: 508-475-0025 x117, ltzimoulis@rainierco.com .

About Quantum Dots (QD)

QDs are semiconductor nanocrystals that possess unique light emitting optical properties. The emission wavelength spectrum of QD light can be tuned to create almost any color of the visible spectrum as defined by the CIE 1931 color space. QDs have very narrow light emission properties enabling a wider color gamut, resulting in higher color fidelity and improved backlight performance.

About QD Vision, Inc.

Privately held, QD Vision , Inc. is a nanomaterials product company delivering advanced display and lighting solutions that provide unparalleled color. QD Vision’s Color IQ™ quantum dot technology is the industry’s only optical component solution capable of delivering full-gamut color displays. QD Vision makes full-gamut televisions a commercial reality through precise color tuning, flexible and high-volume multi-SKU manufacturability, proven performance, and easy integration backed by a full range of tools, services and ecosystem support.

Color IQ is a trademark of QD Vision, Inc.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20140520005556/en/

NASCAR & Lockheed Martin Team Up for Renewable Energy


Published on Apr 23, 2014

Sponsored by Lockheed Martin, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is now an official partner with NASCAR Green, enabling Lockheed Martin and ACORE to promote renewable energy, sustainability, energy security and efficiency to an audience of more than 100 million NASCAR fans. Through this partnership, the organizations will motivate and inspire the next generation of scientists, technologists and engineers through promoting careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

 

U.S. government releases 2014 National Nanotechnology Strategic Plan


U.S. government releases 2014 National Nanotechnology Strategic Plan

(2x2-logo-sm.jpgNanowerk News) The 2014 National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan (pdf) updates and replaces the prior NNI Strategic Plan released in February of 2011.  As called for in the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act (Public Law 108-153, 15 USC §7501), the NNI Strategic Plan describes the NNI vision and goals and the strategies by which these goals are to be achieved, including specific objectives within each of the goals.

 

Also as called for in the Act, the Plan describes the NNI investment strategy and the investment categories, known as the program component areas (PCAs), used in the annual NNI budget crosscut.

2014 National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan

The National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan is the framework that underpins the nanotechnology work of the NNI agencies. It aims to ensure that advancements in and applications of nanotechnology continue in this vital area of R&D, while addressing potential concerns about future and existing applications. Its purpose is to facilitate achievement of the NNI vision and goals by laying out guidance for agency leaders, program managers, and the research community regarding planning and implementation of nanotechnology R&D investments and activities.
The NSET Subcommittee solicited multiple streams of input to inform the development of this revised NNI Strategic Plan. Independent reviews of the NNI by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the National Research Council of the National Academies—strongly supportive of the NNI overall—have made specific recommendations for improving the Initiative.3 Additional input came from the 2013 NNI Strategic Planning Stakeholder Workshop on June 11–12, 2013, as well as from detailed responses from the public to targeted questions that were published on http://www.nano.gov from June 7, 2013 to June 14, 2013.4 The draft strategic plan was posted on http://www.nano.gov for a 30-day public comment period from November 19 to December 18, 2013.

Thus informed by feedback and recommendations from a broad array of stakeholders, this strategic plan represents the consensus of the participating agencies as to the high-level goals and priorities of the NNI and specific objectives for at least the next three years. It serves as an integrated, interagency approach that informs the nanotechnology-specific strategic plans of NNI agencies (e.g., the Strategic Plan for NIOSH Nanotechnology Research and Guidance,5 the EPA’s Nanomaterial Research Strategy,6 and the FDA’s Nanotechnology Regulatory Science Research Plan7).
Accordingly, the strategic plan provides the framework within which each agency will carry out its own mission-related nanotechnology programs and that will sustain coordination of interagency activities. It describes the four overarching goals of the NNI, the major program component areas (PCAs)—established in 2004 and revised in 2013—that are used to broadly track the categories of investments needed to ensure the success of the Initiative, and the near-term objectives that provide concrete steps toward collectively achieving the NNI vision and goals.
Finally, the plan describes collaborative interagency activities. These include Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives (NSIs), which serve as a model of specifically targeted and closely coordinated interagency, cross-sector collaboration designed to accelerate innovation in areas of national priority.
Source: National Science and Technology Council

Read more: U.S. government releases 2014 National Nanotechnology Strategic Plan http://www.nanowerk.com/nanotechnology_news/newsid=34593.php#ixzz2vUenJLJ2 Follow us: @nanowerk on Twitter

The Secret & Dirty Cost of Obama’s Green Power Push


AP Investigation: Obama’s green energy drive comes with an unadvertised environmental cost

by Dina Cappiello & Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press
To our Blog Readers: You can also “Like Us” on Facebook at:
and “Follow Us” on Twitter! https://twitter.com/GenesisNanoTech
Biofuel CornCORYDON, Iowa (AP) — The hills of southern Iowa bear the scars of America’s push for green energy: The brown gashes where rain has washed away the soil. The polluted streams that dump fertilizer into the water supply.

 

Even the cemetery that disappeared like an apparition into a cornfield.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

With the Iowa political caucuses on the horizon in 2007, presidential candidate Barack Obama made homegrown corn a centerpiece of his plan to slow global warming. And when President George W. Bush signed a law that year requiring oil companies to add billions of gallons of ethanol to their gasoline each year, Bush predicted it would make the country “stronger, cleaner and more secure.”

But the ethanol era has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today.

” …

In the first year after the ethanol mandate, more than 2 million acres disappeared.

Since Obama took office, 5 million more acres have vanished.”

” …

When Congress passed the ethanol mandate, it required the EPA to thoroughly study the effects on water and air pollution. In his recent speech to ethanol lobbyists, Vilsack was unequivocal about those effects:

“There is no question air quality, water quality is benefiting from this industry,” he said.

But the administration never actually conducted the required air and water studies to determine whether that’s true.

In an interview with the AP after his speech, Vilsack said he didn’t mean that ethanol production was good for the air and water. He simply meant that gasoline mixed with ethanol is cleaner than gasoline alone.

In the Midwest, meanwhile, scientists and conservationists are sounding alarms.

Nitrogen fertilizer, when it seeps into the water, is toxic. Children are especially susceptible to nitrate poisoning, which causes “blue baby” syndrome and can be deadly.

Between 2005 and 2010, corn farmers increased their use of nitrogen fertilizer by more than one billion pounds. More recent data isn’t available from the Agriculture Department, but because of the huge increase in corn planting, even conservative projections by the AP suggest another billion-pound fertilizer increase on corn farms since then.

Department of Agriculture officials note that the amount of fertilizer used for all crops has remained steady for a decade, suggesting the ethanol mandate hasn’t caused a fertilizer boom across the board.

But in the Midwest, corn is the dominant crop, and officials say the increase in fertilizer use — driven by the increase in corn planting — is having an effect.

The Des Moines Water Works, for instance, has faced high nitrate levels for many years in the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers, which supply drinking water to 500,000 people. Typically, when pollution is too high in one river, workers draw from the other.

“This year, unfortunately the nitrate levels in both rivers were so high that it created an impossibility for us,” said Bill Stowe, the water service’s general manager.

For three months this summer, workers kept huge machines running around the clock to clean the water. Officials asked customers to use less water so the utility had a chance to keep up.

Part of the problem was that last year’s dry weather meant fertilizer sat atop the soil. This spring’s rains flushed that nitrogen into the water along with the remnants of the fertilizer from the most recent crop.

At the same time the ethanol mandate has encouraged farmers to plant more corn, Stowe said, the government hasn’t done enough to limit fertilizer use or regulate the industrial drainage systems that flush nitrates and water into rivers and streams.

With the Water Works on the brink of capacity, Stowe said he’s considering suing the government to demand a solution.

In neighboring Minnesota, a government report this year found that significantly reducing the high levels of nitrates from the state’s water would require huge changes in farming practices at a cost of roughly $1 billion a year.

“We’re doing more to address water quality, but we are being overwhelmed by the increase in production pressure to plant more crops,” said Steve Morse, executive director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership.

The nitrates travel down rivers and into the Gulf of Mexico, where they boost the growth of enormous algae fields. When the algae die, the decomposition consumes oxygen, leaving behind a zone where aquatic life cannot survive.

This year, the dead zone covered 5,800 square miles of sea floor, about the size of Connecticut.

Larry McKinney, the executive director of the Harte Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, says the ethanol mandate worsened the dead zone.

“On the one hand, the government is mandating ethanol use,” he said, “and it is unfortunately coming at the expense of the Gulf of Mexico.”

The dead zone is one example among many of a peculiar ethanol side effect: As one government program encourages farmers to plant more corn, other programs pay millions to clean up the mess.”

To Read the Full Article GO Here:

http://news.yahoo.com/secret-dirty-cost-obamas-green-051200204.html

NANOTECHNOLOGY – Energys Holy Grail Artificial Photosynthesis


 

 

 

What is Nanotechnology?
A basic definition: Nanotechnology is the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale. This covers both current work and concepts that are more advanced.
In its original sense, ‘nanotechnology’ refers to the projected ability to construct items from the bottom up, using techniques and tools being developed today to make complete, high performance products.

Nanotechnology (sometimes shortened to “nanotech”) is the manipulation of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. The earliest, widespread description of nanotechnology referred to the particular technological goal of precisely manipulating atoms and molecules for fabrication of macroscale products, also now referred to as molecular nanotechnology. A more generalized description of nanotechnology was subsequently established by the National Nanotechnology Initiative, which defines nanotechnology as the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers.

This definition reflects the fact that quantum mechanical effects are important at this quantum-realm scale, and so the definition shifted from a particular technological goal to a research category inclusive of all types of research and technologies that deal with the special properties of matter that occur below the given size threshold. It is therefore common to see the plural form “nanotechnologies” as well as “nanoscale technologies” to refer to the broad range of research and applications whose common trait is size. Because of the variety of potential applications (including industrial and military), governments have invested billions of dollars in nanotechnology research. Through its National Nanotechnology Initiative, the USA has invested 3.7 billion dollars. The European Union has invested 1.2 billion and Japan 750 million dollars

Nanotechnology BBC Documentary Nano, the Next Dimension


carbon-nanotubeA BBC documentary on nanotechnology advances in Europe “Nano, The Next Dimension”

 

 

 

 

A very good video to provide “perspective” on how “All Things Nano” have ALREADY impacted our lives and how … the VAST (but tiny!) arena of “Nanotechnologies” (Nano: objects a billionth of a meter in size) will certainly impact ALL of the Sciences, Manufacturing, Communications and Consumer Materials. Impacts such as:

1.  Our abilities to capture and generate abundant renewable sources of energy, (Solar, Hydrogen Fuel Cells)

2. To create abundant sources of CLEAN WATER through vastly improved FILTRATION and WASTE REMEDIATION processes. (Desalination, Oil and Gas Fields)

3. To deliver LIFE SAVING Drug Therapies and provide vastly improved Diagnostics. (Diabetes, Cancer, Alzheimer’s)

4. To create FLEXIBLE SCREENS and PRINTABLE ELECTRONICS that offer vastly improved performance, user experience, with lower energy consumption and with significantly LOWER COSTS. (Flat Panel TV Screens, Smart Phones, Super-Computers, Super-Capacitors, Long-Lived Super Batteries)

5. Completely water, stain proof clothing. Lighter, Stronger Sports Equipment.

6. Coatings and Paints for Buildings, Windows and Highways that capture solar energy. Inks and Sensors that make our everyday life more Secure.

Through the month of January, we will be posting videos, articles and research summaries that focus on the coming accelerated “wave” of nano-supported technologies “that will change the way we innovate everything!”

“Great Things from Small Things!”

 

Genesis Nanotechnology: http://genesisnanotech.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GenesisNanoTech   (@Genesisnanotech)

“Like us on Facebook” https://www.facebook.com/GenesisNanoTech

 

Nanomanufacturing: path to implementing nanotechnology


carbon-nanotube(Nanowerk News) If the promise of nanotechnology is to be fulfilled, then research programs must leapfrog to new nanomanufacturing processes. That’s the conclusion of a review of the current state of nanoscience and nanotechnology to be published in the International Journal of Nanomanufacturing (“Nanomanufacturing: path to implementing nanotechnology”).
Khershed Cooper of the Materials Science and Technology Division, at the Naval Research Laboratory, in Washington, DC and Ralph Wachter of the Division of Computer and Network Systems, at the National Science Foundation, in Arlington, Virginia, USA, explain how research in nanoscience and the emerging applications in nanotechnology have led to new understanding of the properties of matter as well producing many novel materials, structures and devices.
Indeed, the list of possible applications of nanotechnology continues to grow: water filtration and purification, engineered composite materials with modified mechanical properties controlled electrical behaviour and corrosion resistance. There are nano-based materials being used as sealants, anti-fogging and abrasion resistant coatings for glass and other materials, conductive resins, paints and electromagnetic shielding as well as sensors, self-healing materials, super-hydrophobic surfaces, solar cells and ultracapacitors for energy storage as well as materials for armour and protection against bullets and bombs.
The team’s own research has focused on developing tools and techniques to make scalable processes for nanomanufacturing. They are investigating massively parallel techniques, masks and maskless processes for making 3D structures with nanoscopic features. However, they also suggest that several obstacles must be surmounted for nanotechnology to thrive as a future industrial endeavour. In particular, the team believes that research and development should be directed in the following areas:
  • – Multi-scale design, modelling and simulation of nanosystems.
  • – Component integration within large-scale systems.
  • – Integration across physical scales.
  • – Qualification, certification, verification and validation.
  • – Cyber-enabled manufacturing systems.
“Looking ahead, nanotechnology is slated to move into complex, multi-functional, multi-component nanosystems, e.g., nano-machines and nano-robots,” the team concludes. “These nanosystems will be adaptive, responsive to external stimuli, biomimetic, intelligent, smart and autonomous. Nanomanufacturing R&D will be needed to develop the knowledge base for the reliable production of these complex nanosystems.”
Source: Inderscience

Read more: http://www.nanowerk.com/nanotechnology_news/newsid=33544.php#ixzz2nlgsPBdQ

The impact of nanotechnologies on the global divide


carbon-nanotube(Nanowerk News) Nanotechnologies are capable of introducing promising applications that could impact upon our daily lives; it is through the visualisation and control of matter at the scale of a billionth of a metre that allows nanotechnologies to modify and enhance the properties of products across all industry sectors. Even though nanotechnologies have immense potential, they are only in their infancy and have yet to reach full maturity. When considering the changes they could bring, it must be asked: are nanotechnologies going to reduce the rich-poor divide, or will they have the opposite effect?
Closing the Gap: The Impact of Nanotechnologies on the Global Divide

 

In light of debates that make nanotechnologies responsible for a further widening of the aforementioned divide, the Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA) has published a report analysing this Nano-Gap, or Nano-Divide, by examining the pros and cons of nanotechnologies and their impact global development and the on-going fight against poverty.
Entitled “Closing the Gap: The Impact of Nanotechnologies on the Global Divide” (pdf), this report looks at how nanotechnology-based inventions and their potential applications could be implemented in developing counties, and whether they could benefit the most underprivileged populations. Obstacles and problematic issues that could arise are also scrutinised, with the following more fully addressed:

  • – Will nanotechnologies reach the populations they wish to assist?
  • – What impact could they have on world trade and already weak economies?
  • – What of the unprecedented nature and uncertainties surrounding the risks of nanotechnology?
  • – Will inventors from the developing world have to circumvent challenging intellectual property rules in order to make full use of the technology?
This subsequently leads the report into looking at the possible ways forward for the fair development of nanotechnologies. Finally, the report looks at the possibilities for scientists and entrepreneurs from low- and middle-income countries to scale-up the benefits for their countries with the help of international cooperation and global dialogue.
Source: Nanotechnology Industries Association

Read more: http://www.nanowerk.com/nanotechnology_news/newsid=33539.php#ixzz2nlWmimXv

Tough Textile Batteries


With the launch of Google Glass and the Samsung Galaxy Gear wristwatch this year, wearable electronics have moved from abstract concepts to tangible products. To integrate these electronic devices seamlessly into clothing, watchbands, and backpacks, some engineers are developing flexible, powerful textile-based batteries. Now researchers in South Korea have built one of the most durable wearable batteries to date on polyester fabric (Nano Lett. 2013, DOI: 10.1021/nl403860k). The battery, which the researchers sewed into a shirt, can be folded 10,000 times without losing function.

Textile 1 1384358962084

Most attempts to make textile batteries have had limited success, says materials scientist Jang Wook Choi of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

 

Fashionable Batteries            

            South Korean researchers fabricated lithium ion batteries on polyester cloth and then sewed them into a hoodie (left) and a watch wristband (right). The bottom cartoons show the shape of the batteries used in the shirt (left) and wristband (right).

The problem has been finding battery materials that can retain high function while being bent repeatedly. For example, batteries with metal foils as electrodes can bend only a few times before breaking. Electrodes made by dipping cloth in nanoparticle inks, such as solutions of carbon nanotubes, are more durable than the foils, but the electrical resistance of these cloth electrodes is relatively high, which limits the size of the batteries and the total amount of energy they can store.

Polyester Electrode            

            In a new textile battery, researchers fabricated electrodes by electroplating nickel onto polyester fabric (top, center). After adding the nickel layer, they completed the electrode by coating the fabric with a lithium electrode composite using a polyurethane binder (top, right). The nickel coated the individual fibers of polyester yarn, allowing the fabric to retain most of its mechanical properties (bottom, right). The electrode composite then coated each strand of yarn in the fabric. (below)

Textile 2 1384358970137To solve these challenges, Choi rethought the entire design of textile batteries, starting with the electrode. He turned to nickel, because it is a fantastic conductor. To make a flexible, but still highly conductive metal electrode, Choi came up with the idea of electroplating nickel onto polyester fabric. The process is simple, and the nickel-coated textile retains the mechanical properties of the fabric. The electrodes had a very low electrical resistance, about 0.35 ohms per square, comparable to that of a pure nickel metal foil.

The other critical component is the polymer used to bind the anode and cathode materials onto the electrodes in the battery. If this binder material fails, the battery will peel apart and stop functioning. Choi found that polyurethane had the right mechanical properties. To complete the battery, Choi’s group used conventional lithium-ion battery materials for the anodes and cathodes.

Choi’s group put the polyester-based batteries through their paces. Other groups have demonstrated bending and flexing of batteries, but the KAIST team thought the real test of mechanical durability would be to fold the device with firm creases. They powered an array of light-emitting diodes with the battery and folded it repeatedly. After 10,000 folding and unfolding cycles, the textile battery still worked. Batteries built with aluminum foil electrodes broke after three cycles and stopped working altogether after 100 cycles.

The KAIST group showed that their textile batteries can be sewn into a sweatshirt and a watchband. They also integrated the batteries with flexible solar cells so the batteries could recharge without needing to be removed from the clothing. “It’s quite comfortable to wear,” Choi says, adding that the battery is sealed so people could wash the fabric with the battery still attached.

“I’m really impressed,” says Yi Cui, a battery researcher at Stanford University. The KAIST group has successfully put their batteries through much harsher mechanical tests than others have been able to, he says.

The next step, Cui says, is to use battery materials that can store more energy to further improve the performance. So far, the KAIST team has used lithium iron phosphate for the cathode and lithium titanium oxide for the anode. Cui says that using a carbon anode material in the textile battery would increase the battery’s voltage, which determines how much power the device can deliver and how fast it can recharge. The voltage of the textile battery is about 2.5 V, and Choi says it should be about 3.8 V for practical applications.

Indeed, Choi’s group is experimenting with other materials, in collaboration with an unnamed South Korean battery maker that is interested in scaling up production of the wearable batteries.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2013 American Chemical Society