The demand for flexible wearable electronics has increased with the dramatic growth of smart devices that can exchange data with other devices over the internet with built-in sensors, software, and other technologies. The researchers therefore focused on exploring flexible energy storage devices, such as flexible supercapacitors (FSCs), which are lightweight and secure and integrate easily with other devices. FSCs have high power density and fast charge and discharge rates.
Printing electronics, manufacturing electronic devices and systems using conventional printing techniques, has proven to be an economical, simple and scalable strategy for FSC manufacturing. Traditional microfabrication techniques can be expensive and complex.
In Applied physics exams, by AIP Publishing, researchers at Wuhan University and Hunan University provide a review of printed FSCs in terms of their ability to formulate functional inks, design printable electrodes, and integrate functions with other electronic devices.
Printed FSCs are typically made by printing the functional inks onto traditional organic and inorganic electrode materials on flexible substrates. Due to the thin film structure, these printed devices can be bent, stretched and twisted to a certain radius without loss of electrochemical function.
In addition, the rigid current collecting components of the supercapacitor can also be replaced by the flexible printed parts. Various printing techniques such as screen printing, inkjet printing and 3D printing have been well established to manufacture printed FSCs.
“The development of high performance miniaturized, flexible and planar electrochemical energy storage devices is an urgent requirement to promote the rapid development of portable electronic devices in daily life,” said author Wu Wei. “We can imagine that in the future we can use any printer in our life and print a super capacitor to charge a cell phone or smart bracelet at any time.”
Researchers have found that for printable ink formulations, two principles must be followed. First, when selecting ink components, it is essential to include fewer ineffective additives, better conductive binders, and excellent dispersion electrode materials. Second, the ink must have a suitable viscosity and good rheological property to obtain excellent prints.
Printable functional materials, such as graphene and pseudocapacitive materials, are good building blocks for printed supercapacitors.
Since printed electronics offer the advantage of flexibility and low cost, it can be used to manufacture solar cells, flexible OLED displays, transistors, RFID tags and other integrated smart devices. This opens up the possibility for many other applications including smart textiles, smart packaging and smart labels.
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Material provided by American Institute of Physics. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.