Flexible and stretchable power sources for wearable electronics.Sci Adv. 2017 06; 3(6):e1602051.SA
Flexible and stretchable power sources represent a key technology for the realization of wearable electronics. Developing flexible and stretchable batteries with mechanical endurance that is on par with commercial standards and offer compliance while retaining safety remains a significant challenge. We present a unique approach that demonstrates mechanically robust, intrinsically safe silver-zinc batteries. This approach uses current collectors with enhanced mechanical design, such as helical springs and serpentines, as a structural support and backbone for all battery components. We show wire-shaped batteries based on helical band springs that are resilient to fatigue and retain electrochemical performance over 17,000 flexure cycles at a 0.5-cm bending radius. Serpentine-shaped batteries can be stretched with tunable degree and directionality while maintaining their specific capacity. Finally, the batteries are integrated, as a wearable device, with a photovoltaic module that enables recharging of the batteries.