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Printed perovskite solar cell and battery combo for wearables

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Researchers at the University of Surrey in the UK have printed a flexible zinc-ion battery alongside a perovskite solar cell to power wearable devices.

The Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) printed an interdigitated fast-charging Zn-MnO2 battery next to the perovskite solar cell on the same substrate, allowing it to demonstrate high energy and volume density comparable to state-of-the-art micro-batteries and supercapacitors. 

A protective layer of nickel is introduced into the battery to boost the performance, giving a volumetric energy density of 148 mWh cm−3 (16.3 μWh cm−2) and power density of 55 W cm−3 (6.1 mW cm−2) at the current density of 400 C (5 mA cm−2).

The embedded flexible perovskite photovoltaic cell is sufficient to charge the battery and create a self-charging system capable to offer energy autonomy in miniaturized wearable electronics. A 30s charge can power other functional electronics such as an LED bulb or pressure sensor for tens of minutes.

“This technology provides a promising strategy for efficient use of clean energy and enables wearable electronics to be operated continuously without plug-in charging. Our prototype could represent a step forward to how we interact with wearables and other internet-of-things devices, such as remote real-time health monitors,” said researcher Jinxin Bi at ATI.

“The unique features in our ultrafast photo-rechargeable system could promote wide applications in self-powered wearable internet-of-things, autonomous power systems and emergency electronics. In addition, it will broaden the perception and insight of designing the next generation of miniaturised flexible photo-rechargeable systems,” said Dr Yunlong Zhao, project co-lead at ATI.

www.surrey.ac.uk

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