Microscale batteries can deliver energy at the actual point of energy usage, providing capabilities for miniaturizing electronic devices and enhancing their performance. Here, we demonstrate a high-performance microbattery suitable for large-scale on-chip integration with both microelectromechanical and complementary metal-oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) devices. Enabled by a 3D holographic patterning technique, the battery possesses well-defined, periodically mesostructured porous electrodes. Such battery architectures offer both high energy and high power, and the 3D holographic patterning technique offers exceptional control of the electrode’s structural parameters, enabling customized energy and power for specific applications.
Holographically patterned microbattery. Credit: University of Illinois
As sensors, wireless communication devices, personal health monitoring systems, and autonomous microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) become distributed and smaller, there is an increasing demand for miniaturized integrated power sources. Although thin-film batteries are well-suited for on-chip integration, their energy and power per unit area are limited. Three-dimensional electrode designs have potential to offer much greater power and energy per unit area; however, efforts to date to realize 3D microbatteries have led to prototypes with solid electrodes (and therefore low power) or mesostructured electrodes not compatible with manufacturing or on-chip integration. Here, we demonstrate an on-chip compatible method to fabricate high energy density (6.5 μWh cm−2⋅μm−1) 3D mesostructured Li-ion microbatteries based on LiMnO2 cathodes, and NiSn anodes that possess supercapacitor-like power (3,600 μW cm−2⋅μm−1 peak). The mesostructured electrodes are fabricated by combining 3D holographic lithography with conventional photolithography, enabling deterministic control of both the internal electrode mesostructure and the spatial distribution of the electrodes on the substrate. The resultant full cells exhibit impressive performances, for example a conventional light-emitting diode (LED) is driven with a 500-μA peak current (600-C discharge) from a 10-μm-thick microbattery with an area of 4 mm2 for 200 cycles with only 12% capacity fade. A combined experimental and modeling study where the structural parameters of the battery are modulated illustrates the unique design flexibility enabled by 3D holographic lithography and provides guidance for optimization for a given application.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.