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Power Science

Transparent Lithium-Ion Battery Created 91

Med-trump writes "Stanford researchers say they have developed a transparent battery. Transparent futuristic gadgets have been a topic of science fiction and dream of engineers. The paper "Transparent lithium-ion batteries" was published in the July 25 edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They used a grid-structured electrode, which is fabricated by a microfluidics-assisted method, such that the feature dimension in the electrode is below the resolution limit of human eyes, and, thus, the electrode appears transparent."
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Transparent Lithium-Ion Battery Created

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  • by wsxyz ( 543068 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @04:25PM (#36900804)
    This will be excellent for powering the iWindow.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Lawsuit in 3...2...1...

  • the feature dimension ...is below the resolution limit of human eyes, and, thus... appears transparent."

  • by Ossifer ( 703813 )

    So no transparent aluminum then?

    • by N!k0N ( 883435 )
      They just call it synthetic sapphire...
      • by vlm ( 69642 )

        They just call it synthetic sapphire...

        Interesting you mention that, I'm thinking we've finally found a mass producible window material that is more expensive than synthetic sapphire.

        (If you allow non-mass producible then you get people trying to use gem quality diamonds)

        • Synthetic sapphire isn't that expensive. Go into any grocery store, they'll have 20 checkout lanes with huge panes of it.

          Synthetic gem looking sapphire is. Just like synthetic diamond is a dime a dozen, they slap it on anything they can, the gem quality stuff isn't as cheap.

    • I dunno, but if this stuff was transparent to infrared, we could call it "TrI-Lithium".

      'course that would mean referencing an audaciously awful movie that most people would rather forget. In fact forget I said anything. oh but I'm still hitting "submit".

  • Do they have transparent copper wires and circuit boards now as well? Because without them, I'm really not seeing the point of having a transparent battery.
    • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @04:30PM (#36900890) Homepage

      Do they have transparent copper wires and circuit boards now as well? Because without them, I'm really not seeing the point of having a transparent battery.

      Steve Jobs is obviously behind this. Think it's hard to replace the battery in a iPhone or MacBook now? Wait until you can't see it!

    • It's still more like semi-transparent batteries. At least from the video/image there's still a hint of shift and blocking as if something is embedded there. (ie: it's not like glass, but sort of a dirty glass.)

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Here's how to do it right: First, post a snarky and/or ignorant comment, THEN read the article and/or watch accompanying video.
    • If the battery is transparent it should be able to lose heat more efficiently through infra-red radiation. This might in turn enable it to charge/discharge quicker.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If they'd invented transparent copper wires, you'd just be bitching because they don't have transparent batteries, yet. One thing at a time, chief, and we can make gradual advances in technology.

    • If the battery is transparent (and durable) you can put it on the outside of the device, saving space inside for things that have to go inside, like memory and CPUs.
      • . . . Why does it have to be transparent? I mean, I get the durable part. And I guess if it was perfectly transparent, you could put the battery in front of the screen. But why? But look at any device around you. Think about where the battery is. Now it's transparent.... so what?

        Think about laptops and phones. You don't want the battery bulging out. You want it recessed, fitting nicely into the device.
        • As you noted, if the battery is transparent, it can cover the screen, which with today's devices is about half the surface area of the device. Also, if the battery is outside the device, instead of inside there can be more of it and the device will still be thin. Put a shell of battery equivalent to 10% of the thickness of the device on the outside and it's as if 33% of the interior space of the device were consumed by the battery. That 33% savings can be used for components that have to be inside.
          • Or, you know, you could put the screen in front of that, and NOTHING CHANGES. Actually, since it's usually a touchscreen, you lose functionality.
  • Could you incorporate a transparent battery and transparent solar panel to create a window with some sort of a plugin in it?

    I wish we would standardize on a standard DC power cord, but I guess USB is as good as any in this combination. Put you phone on the window seal and charge it up.

    • Transparent suggests the light goes through unimpeded. Tough to extract energy in a solar panel if the light just goes through. One can target the wavelengths we don't see, but our eyes generally see the most intense part of the sunlight curve, so effective efficiency would be limited

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      If a solar panel is transparent how is making power?
      Does it only catch UV and IR or what?

  • Darn it! (Score:2, Funny)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

    Where'd I put that battery?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      in your transparent dildo

      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        You're joking, but that might very well be one of the first uses.
        The sex industry has driven progress and acceptance of a LOT of technologies.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    For sale, the first completely transparent _____________. Only $19.99! Notice how light it is? It feels just like there is nothing in your hand. Lets not forget all of the amazing things it can do like ___________, ______________, and ___________. You'll wonder how you ever got along without it. And now for a limited time only... We'll through in a second one free at no additional cost.

    Fine print: Not responsible for any problems incurred finding the item in the box...

  • I thought something was transparent if photons passed through it.

    If the feature dimensions are too small for photons to bounce off of, then that's effectively the same thing as being transparent... but that has diddly-squat to do with the resolution limit of the human eye.

  • The particles of fog are below the feature dimension resolvable by my eye, yet it is not transparent

  • by owlstead ( 636356 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @04:54PM (#36901156)

    Ah, now we can finally see directly if a battery is full or not.

    • Reminds me of a service call I received a few months back. The call requested me to come out and re-fill the LCD because it was showing about half full. I couldn't believe this, so called to find out what was going on. She said that the liquid crystals had drained out. Thinking they're pulling my leg, I went to the site and, sure enough, the LCD was half full. Someone had cracked the screen, then someone else had spilled a soda over it, which then drained into it and made it look half full. I tried no

      • That kind-of happened to me. My car has an auto-dimming rear view mirror, which is implemented by a light sensor and LCD overlay on the mirror. After a particularly hot day I noticed there was some greasy liquid on the console. Turned out the liquid had leaked out. Now it is half full and doesn't work any more.

  • I just don't see it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Order our new transparent laptop now! Additional options include non-transparent back mounting ($99) so you can see wtf you are doing!

  • I'd rather .... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @05:12PM (#36901330)

    I'd much rather see a battery that lasts 10times longer, or that can be charged 10times faster, or that can release energy at a rate 10times faster, than have engineers spend time on creating a transparent battery.

    Am I alone in that?

    • I'm pretty sure different groups of researchers can work on all of those problems simultaneously.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Phics ( 934282 )

      You're probably not alone. On the other hand, (and forgive me for jumping to conclusions), it sounds like you're thinking about devices such as tablets or cell phones. Those aren't the only applications for battery technology.

      That's the great thing about discovery... Just because someone came up with a new technology, doesn't mean future applications are readily apparent. Someone out there is going to think, "Hey! This sucks for laptops, but you know what this would be great for?!...." and the next thi

  • But... I won't be able to "see how much battery I gots left" on my new phone. :(
  • by JavaBear ( 9872 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @05:24PM (#36901452)

    ...you want some privacy, or "accidentally" enter a porn site while on the train...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We can mix the transparent battery with some transparent aluminum to make an invisible laptop? Cool! Wait...

  • by mswhippingboy ( 754599 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @05:40PM (#36901612)
    I'll believe it when I see it.
  • by kiwix ( 1810960 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @06:43PM (#36902188)

    What is the point of making stuff transparent? I can think of two important differences between a regular phone and an hypothetic transparent phone: you can more easily lose the transparent one, and the screen will be much harder to read. Am I missing something?

    • by srodden ( 949473 )

      Don't you know? Transparent is the new white...

      I looked at the transparent gadgets link and I hope folks will forgive me for being totally underwhelmed by a bunch of pics of artists impressions of how some gadgets might look IF we develop the technology to build them.

      Show me some working prototypes and I'll spend the energy to be impressed. In the mean time, I agree with kiwix who is worried about losing his transparent phone and with AC that suggests efforts would be better spent on trying to make a batte

    • At a basic level, a transparent battery frees up any design limitation regarding placement of battery becuse of opaqueness. It's one less thing to worry about regarding translucent design.

      That freedom can possibly mean more efficient use of space, or to design a battery right into something translucent, to give an example. It's freedom, don't knock freedom.

    • Am I missing something?

      Yes, you are missing something. But that's because the something is transparent.

  • Whales will it hold?

  • Really you'd think Apple were selling inflatable notebooks. Are there any advantages from this new method other than a seemingly useless translucency?... a battery that doesn't explode or expand would be really nice.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev