Researchers create flexible tin dioxide cloth self-powered photo detector

Jul 04, 2013 by Bob Yirka report
Researchers create flexible tin dioxide cloth self-powered photo detector
Schematic illustration for the synthesis of microtubes-woven SnO2 cloth. Credit: Nanoscale, 2013, DOI: 10.1039/C3NR02300A

(Phys.org) —A team of researchers at China's Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics has succeeded in creating a bendable tin dioxide cloth material that works as a photo detector complete with its own power source. In their paper published in the newly created peer-reviewed journal Nanoscale, the team describes how they made the cloth by growing tin dioxide nanoparticles on a carbon cloth template.

Electronics that can be integrated with bendable materials has become a major focus of research groups around the world in recent years due to the belief that products made from such efforts would be highly valued by customers. Smart phones that could be folded and put into a pocket is one example, clothes worn on the body with built into them is another—possibly doing away with the need for batteries. In this new effort the team in China has created a bendable cloth material that they've used to build a working self-powered .

To make the photo detector and its , the team grew tin dioxide on a template of carbon cloth. That resulted in hollow micro-tubes of tin dioxide being interwoven with the carbon cloth material. Tin dioxide was used because it is a semi-conductor that is especially receptive to ultraviolet light and is also useful as a battery source. The result was a flexible tin dioxide photo detector and a flexible tin dioxide to power the photo detector.

The researchers report that their cloth device is lightweight, small and is highly flexible. Bending it over itself, they add, did not degrade performance. The material can also be cut to size and its performance, they contend, is on a par with conventional devices. They suggest their material could be used as a sensor detection system for large areas with wireless capabilities. They next plan to investigate ways to make similar devices on a smaller scale.

SEM images of the as-grown SnO2/C cloth from the hydrothermal without the following heating treatment. Credit: Nanoscale, 2013, DOI: 10.1039/C3NR02300A

One issue not addressed in the paper is durability of the material—while the team notes that the material they created was capable of lasting through many voltage cycles, they don't make mention of the sticky problem of how it might endure when exposed to environmental conditions such as humidity, sweat, heat, cold, etc.

Explore further: Research aims to improve rechargeable batteries by focusing on graphene oxide paper

More information: SnO2-Microtubes-Assembled Cloth for Fully-Flexible Self-Powered Photodetector Nanosystems, Nanoscale, 2013, Accepted Manuscript, DOI: 10.1039/C3NR02300A

Abstract
Integrating an energy conversion or storage device with photodetectors into a self-powered system provides a promising way for future devices aiming at reduced size, light weight and high flexibility. We reported here the fabrication of a fully flexible self-powered photodetector nanosystem by integrating a flexible SnO2-cloth-based ultraviolet photodetector with a flexible SnO2-cloth-based lithium-ion battery. The flexible SnO2-cloth-based ultraviolet photodetectors showed fast response to ultraviolet light with excellent flexibility and stability. Using SnO2-on-carbon-cloth as the binder-free anode electrode and commercial LiCoO2/Al foil as cathode, flexible full lithium-ion battery was first assembled, exhibiting a reversible capacity of 550 mAh g-1 even after 60 cycles at a current density of 200 mA g-1 in a potential window of 2-3.8 V. When integrated with and driven by the flexible full battery, the fully flexible self-powered photodetector nanosystems exhibit comparable performance with the external energy instrument powered device. Such an integrated nanosystem could serve as a detecting system in large wireless areas such as environmental sensing and biosensing.

via Chemistry World

Related Stories

Unzipped nanotubes unlock potential for batteries

Jun 13, 2013

(Phys.org) —Researchers at Rice University have come up with a new way to boost the efficiency of the ubiquitous lithium ion (LI) battery by employing ribbons of graphene that start as carbon nanotubes.

New low-cost, transparent electrodes

Jun 27, 2013

Indium tin oxide (ITO) has become a standard material in light-emitting diodes, flat panel plasma displays, electronic ink and other applications because of its high performance, moisture resistance, and capacity for being ...

Tin nanocrystals for the battery of the future

Apr 08, 2013

(Phys.org) —More powerful batteries could help electric cars achieve a considerably larger range and thus a breakthrough on the market. A new nanomaterial for lithium ion batteries developed in the labs ...

Graphene nanocomposite a bridge to better batteries

Jul 27, 2011

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have created a graphene and tin nanoscale composite material for high-capacity energy storage in renewable ...

Recommended for you

The simplest element: Turning hydrogen into 'graphene'

Dec 16, 2014

New work from Carnegie's Ivan Naumov and Russell Hemley delves into the chemistry underlying some surprising recent observations about hydrogen, and reveals remarkable parallels between hydrogen and graphene ...

Future batteries: Lithium-sulfur with a graphene wrapper

Dec 16, 2014

What do you get when you wrap a thin sheet of the "wonder material" graphene around a novel multifunctional sulfur electrode that combines an energy storage unit and electron/ion transfer networks? An extremely ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.