One of the major hurdles smartphone makers face while designing a foldable phone is accommodating the battery. Unlike foldable displays, we do not have a foldable battery so far. Well, that could change soon as Markus Niederberger, a professor at the ETH Zürich technical university in Switzerland has come up with “stretchable batteries”.
As the name hints, these batteries would be foldable, twistable, and stretchable, making it the ideal choice for smartphones and tablets with unusual form factors. Think of a next-gen Samsung Galaxy Fold or Huawei Mate X without battery limitations in the design language. Incredible, right?
The battery makes use of a new kind of material discovered by Xi Chen, the lead author of the paper titled “Fully Integrated Design of a Stretchable Solid‐State Lithium‐Ion Full Battery“, which got published in Advanced Materials journal.
You must be wondering how this new battery technology works. Well, it makes use of a new electrolyte that serves as the medium for lithium-ions to travel in one of the directions based on the energy flow. The collectors for the anode and cathode are made of bendable carbon.
For those curious to know the materials used, the anode used in the battery is made of vanadium oxide while the cathode is made of lithium manganese. Microscopic silver flakes have been added inside these surfaces to function as a conductive layer. Take a look at the internal structure of the battery below.
As of now, the battery is not ready to be put in upcoming foldable phones since the scientists are in search of a suitable adhesive to keep all the layers intact. We will have to wait until these scientists find a fix for that and once they come up with a feasible solution, it could revolutionize and open up a whole new door of possibilities for the physical design language of foldable smartphones.
So, what do you think of stretchable batteries? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.