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2017 - Florian Hartmann

Battery with integrated stretchable circuit based on Hydrogels

Conference participation at the MRS 2017 Spring Meeting, Phoenix, USA)
Apr 2017


Florian Hartmann
Contact: vorname.nachname(/\t)jku.at


Energy density is a key metric when powering mobile devices and plays a crucial role for autonomous soft systems ranging from robotics to wearables and implants. All mobile, untethered applications require a reliable power source that withstands stretching and twisting while operating, ideally with low internal resistance and high power density.

To achieve this, our group at the Soft Matter Physics of the JKU redesigned our pioneering approach towards stretchable batteries [1,2] from scratch and at the MRS17 could demonstrate a high power, tough, soft battery that can be stretched to over 50% and withstands twisting by 90 degrees without detrimental impact on performance. Due to a new stacked design of anode, cathode and electrolyte containing hydrogels, the battery even improves its performance when deformed — the short circuit current increases from 160 mA to 220 mA when stretched by 50%.

We achieve this by using a tough hydrogel separator with high ionic conductivity, strongly bond to the soft encapsulating matrix. This architecture drastically reduces ionic pathways and enables superior use of active materials, leading to a continuous discharge capacity at 5 mA of 2.1 mAh/cm2. I had the possibility to demonstrate the feasibility of our new stretchable batteries by giving a talk at the MRS17 Spring meeting, showing that we use them to power stretchable, imperceptible circuits bearing several SMD LEDs, a step up converter and various passive components.

The whole soft assembly, including battery and electronics, endures severe mechanical deformation during operation and holds the potential of numerous applications, from mobile health to consumer electronics and soft robotics. It was a specific pleasure to present, as a master student, our novel soft energy storage platform to the experts in the field.


[1] Kaltenbrunner, Martin, et al. "Arrays of ultracompliant electrochemical dry gel cells for stretchable
electronics." Advanced materials 22.18 (2010): 2065-2067.
[2] Kettlgruber, Gerald, et al. "Intrinsically stretchable and rechargeable batteries for self-powered stretchable
electronics." Journal of Materials Chemistry A 1.18 (2013): 5505-5508.