Collaborative Success Stories: Micro Rave
University of Missouri researchers have invented a new way to create micro energy storage.
Smartphones and electronic devices have become part of everyday life, and consumers want models that are ever thinner and more lightweight. However, designers are limited by the size and shape of current power sources. In search of alternatives, a team of MU researchers led by mechanical engineer Jian Lin collaborated with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. They developed a new method of creating small energy sources in virtually any shape.
The method utilizes a rapidly advancing technology known as direct laser writing (DLW). DLW is used to store energy in tiny nanostructures; then, with the aid of specialized computer programs, the structures are custom-shaped into geometric shapes which can be used in micro batteries and fuel cells. Once the process is honed, smartphone manufacturers will be able to produce components in whatever shape or size they choose. “The possibilities will be endless,” says Lin.
In addition to expanding design options, the innovation allows for more environmentally friendly fuel cells than the current process. It could also be used to produce high-density batteries that require infrequent replacement.
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