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Laser writing could enable microbatteries in chips

As demand grows for thinner and lighter microelectronic devices, manufacturers can be challenged when it comes to getting power sources into the smaller space. Looking to address the issue, researchers at the University of Missouri have developed a laser writing technique that enables energy sources to be created in virtually any shape. According to the team, this approach could help smartphone manufacturers to fabricate microbatteries and micro fuel cells that are more environmentally friendly, highly designable and thin.

Assistant professor Jian Lin said: “The main goal of our research was to find an efficient and cost effective way to integrate nanostructures with micro energy storage units for applications in microelectronics. Our lab decided to test whether catalysts could be synthesised and patterned on any surface by a one step laser processing method to produce microbatteries and micro fuel cells in the shapes dictated by computer programs.”

The team adapted the DLW method to synthesise and pattern hybrid nanocatalysts – or fuel sources – into complex geometric shapes. Using computer controlled laser writing with higher heat and pressure, the scientists produced a surface that became electrically conducive and which had catalytic functionalities.

“This is the first step in manufacturing micro fuel cells and batteries that can integrate into microcircuits,” Lin claimed. “This technique has also been proven to produce microsupercapacitors. By honing the process, handheld device and smartphone manufacturers will be able to produce components in whatever shape or size they choose. Also, manufacturers will be able to choose more environmentally friendly catalysts for generating energy such as hydrogen or oxygen, which are considered cleaner fuels. The possibilities will be endless.”

Pic: Ryan Owens, University of Missouri-Columbia

Graham Pitcher

Source:  www.newelectronics.co.uk

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