SFI researchers discover new material to power wearable devices
Researchers from AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and BioEngineering, at Trinity College Dublin, in collaboration with I-Form, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, at University College Dublin, have announced how the development of a new energy storage material, MXene inks, that coulid power the next generation of smartwatches, fitness trackers and other such devices.
In a study published in Nature Communications, AMBER and I-Form lead investigator Prof Valeria Nicolosi outlined how this new material could address the issue of energy supply for smart wearables – a market expected to be worth $51 billion by 2022.
Prof Nicolosi said: “Smart wearables have battery requirements that so far have been fulfilled by detachable batteries – which are usually cumbersome battery packs that limit the size and geometry of these wearables. With our new research, we have demonstrated that we can manufacture energy storage devices that can be easily 3D printed on virtually any substance and on any shape or pattern. They are thin, flat, flexible and can take virtually any geometry/design solving all the issues related to power-supply in smart wearables.
“This new study effectively demonstrates how a readily scalable technology can be used for the development of inexpensive and high-performance energy storage devices (based on MXenes inks). This could have huge potential for the development of the next generation of smart wearables and even textile-electronics.”
I-Form Director Prof Denis Dowling, of the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, said: “The development of the new MXene ink, combined with the ability to process it through 3D printing to form energy storage devices, shows the importance of integrating materials development and processing, which are respectively the core focus research areas of the AMBER and I-Form SFI Research Centres. Prof Nicolosi and her team’s research promises real impact for a multitude of sectors.”