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Screen printing’s thinner than a millimeter role!
(08-Jul-2009)
Category - Articles(Screen)

 A new cutting-edge battery is all set to replace the batteries that were hitherto bulky and heavy. As could be seen in the picture, it is thinner than a millimeter, lighter than a gram, as claimed by its creators. It can be produced cost-effectively through screen printing process, quite similar to that used for t-shirts and signs.
The printable battery that can be produced cost-effectively on a large scale, is the brain child of a research team led by Prof. Dr. Reinhard Baumann of the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Electronic Nano Systems ENAS in Chemnitz. The team was assisted other scientists from TU Chemnitz and Menippos GmbH. “Our goal is to be able to mass produce the batteries at a price of single digit cent range each,” states Dr. Andreas Willert, group manager at ENAS.
Prof. Dr. Reinhard Baumann of the Fraunhofer Research Institution writes: “A kind of rubber lip presses the printing paste through a screen onto the substrate. A template covers the areas that are not to be printed on. Through this process it is possible to apply comparatively large quantities of printing paste, and the individual layers are slightly thicker than a hair”.
The characteristics of the battery differ significantly from those of conventional batteries. The printable version weighs less than one gram on the scales, is not even one millimeter thick. The printed batteries are especially suited for thin and flexible products. These might be e.g. intelligent chip and sensor cards, bank cards, medical patches and plasters for transdermal medication and vital signs monitoring, as well as lab on chip analyses.
The combination with other flexible or thin modules, at least, has to be accentuated. According to researchers, flexible displays and solar cells may be manufactured in the same manner of preparation and combined where required. The battery is also suitable for applications which have a limited life span or a limited power requirement, for instance greeting cards.
By using high efficient printing technologies and the adaptation of the used materials, the production yield reaches almost 100 %. The researchers have already produced the batteries on a laboratory scale. At the end of this year, the first products could possibly be finished. Field tests are also running for different applications. The first application being ready for series production is expected in 4th quarter of 2009.
As an advancement the development of secondary batteries is planned, which may be used as traction batteries and for energy harvesting systems.
The battery contains no mercury and is in this respect environmentally friendly. Its voltage is 1.5 V, which lies within the normal range. By placing several batteries in a row, voltages of 3 V, 4.5 V and 6 V can also be achieved. The new type of battery is composed of different layers: a zinc anode and a manganese cathode, among others. Zinc and manganese react with one another and produce electricity. However, the anode and the cathode layer dissipate gradually during this chemical process.
In fact, this innovative developments of printed functionalities and nanotechnologies were demonstrated at the international nanotechnology exhibition and conference nano tech 2009 in Tokyo early this year.
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft was founded, 60 years ago, on March 26, 1949 to be precisely, in the large conference hall of the Bavarian Ministry of the Economy. At the time, the idea was to develop new structures for research after the war's destruction, and to spur reconstruction of the economy. Today, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has attained a size and influence that makes it an undisputedly vital element in Germany’s industrial and scientific landscape.
The research organization was founded in 1949, in the same year as the Federal Republic of Germany, and started out as a small office with just three employees. The original purpose of the non-profit organization was to distribute grants and donations for research of direct relevance to industry. The impressive march of progress as seen and experienced by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in its first 50 years is documented in a seven-part Chronicle.
Down memory lane, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft owes its name to Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787-1826), the successful Munich researcher, inventor and entrepreneur. The story of his life and works clearly indicates why he was chosen as the role model for the Fraunhofer ENAS.