It seems like technology continues to get smaller and smaller. In the past, cellphones used to be massive, but now you can buy versions that are as powerful as small computers with less bulk than earlier models. A group of scientists at the Chemnitz University of Technology appears to be taking that same approach. Instead of focusing on phones or other tech, though, these researchers want to make batteries much smaller. So far, the result is the world’s smallest battery, which is smaller than a grain of dust.
The world’s smallest battery is the size of a grain of salt
As computers and other tech continue to get smaller, we’re going to need even smaller batteries to power them. That’s the problem that scientists at the Chemnitz University of Technology set out to fix. Working alongside the IFD Dresden and Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, the team was able to present an answer to the ongoing need for microbatteries.
The world’s smallest battery is smaller than a dust mote. As such, it’s able to power very small devices like biocompatible sensor systems placed in the human body. Unlike other batteries this size, though, this one is different. This microbattery features a self-assembly process. The process is known as micro-origami. As such, the microbattery more closely resembles a standard cylinder battery.
According to a study on the world’s smallest battery, the new design allows it to meet the two basic requirements for integration into microcomputers. First, it must feature a minimum energy density of 100 microwatt-hour per square centimeter. Then, it needs to offer monolithic integration with other electrical circuits on the chip.
Inspired by snack cakes
The scientists took inspiration for the microbattery’s design from a snack cake known as the swiss roll. These snack cakes feature a rolled design featuring layers of cake and cream. Much like the swiss roll, the battery is made up of a thin film rolled into layers. It allows the battery to offer a solid amount of power without taking up too much space.
By borrowing that design, the battery is able to fit into smaller spaces while also providing more than enough power to whatever runs off of it. While it hasn’t been situated in any tech just yet, we could start to see it appearing in other tech in the future, especially tech that fits into small places and needs a lot of power behind it.