Like something straight out of a low-budget, straight-to-DVD sequel to Mission:Impossible, scientists in the United States have created a type of battery that provides juice before breaking down in water or when exposed to certain degrees of heat.
The creation forms part of a burgeoning area of reaseach known as 'transient electronics' that aims to create functional technology that can be dissolved when exposed to light, heat or liquids. The battery itself offers 2.5V of charge, which is enough to power something like a desktop calculator for a good 15 minutes before running dry, making it the world's first example of transient device with a stable practical application and shelf life.
“Unlike conventional electronics that are designed to last for extensive periods of time, a key and unique attribute of transient electronics is to operate over a typically short and well-defined period, and undergo fast and, ideally, complete self-deconstruction and vanish when transiency is triggered,” commented the team in their recently published paper.
Taking around 30 minutes to break down, the current version wouldn't be safe for use in the body due to the presence of lithium in its design, but the principle is a watershed moment for the potential creation of medical equipment that could break down naturally without the need for invasive surgical removal.
The proof of concept battery is tiny - just 5 x 6 mm and 1 mm thick - but its potential uses could stretch from medical applications to military hardware and beyond.
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