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Microscopic batteries created through 3D printing

Researchers at Harvard have created a 3D-printing nozzle smaller than the width of a human hair, to make microscopic lithium-ion batteries.

As our gadgets shrink ever smaller, the pressure is on to reduce the size of batteries as much as humanly possible. And we’re getting close to a workable solution: scientists have just used 3D printing to build the smallest lithium-ion battery in the world — the size of a grain of sand.

Together with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute, led by senior author Jennifer Lewis, have turned to 3D printing to create tiny stacks of electrodes, tightly interlaced.

The team created a custom 3D printer with a nozzle narrower than a human hair to lay down the ink — but it’s the ink itself that was the trickiest part. First, it had to be able to work as eletrochemically active materials in order to function…

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