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A D V A N C E D M A T E R I A L S & P R O C E S S E S | J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 6

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Researchers at Linköping Univer-

sity, Sweden, developed a new mate-

rial consisting of nanocellulose and a

conductive polymer that has an out-

standing ability to store energy. One

sheet of power paper, 15 cm in diam-

eter and a few tenths of a millimeter

thick, can store as much as 1 Farad—

similar to today’s supercapacitors. The

material can be recharged in seconds,

hundreds of times.

The new material set a world re-

cord in simultaneous conductivity for

ions and electrons and opens the door

to continued development toward

even higher capacity. Unlike traditional

batteries and condensers, power pa-

per is produced from simple materials,

is lightweight, requires no dangerous

chemicals or heavy metals, and is wa-


For more information: Xavier

Crispin, +46 (0)11 36 34 85,






Researchers in China developed a

new solar-light-absorbing surface that

can have almost any design, pattern,

and color—useful for turning building

facades and roofs into energy-captur-

ing exteriors without sacrificing aes-

thetics. Because they also use similar

materials as existing solar absorbers,

this new kind of absorber could lead

to wider use of solar thermal technol-

ogy and greater energy efficiency, says

Shao-Wei Wang, Shanghai Institute of

Technical Physics.

At the heart of this technology

are layered surfaces called solar se-

lective absorbers. The absorbers are

covered with multiple layers of trans-

parent dielectric materials, which can

reflect light of a particular color. By

changing the thickness of these layers,

Newmaterial stores energy and can be recharged hundreds of times.


researchers can tune the absorber to re-

flect light of almost any shade required.

Some parts of the absorbing layer can

be covered with a thicker transparent

dielectric layer than others, allowing

researchers to create a single absorber

with a rainbow of hues.





Professor Hee-Tak Kim at the Ko-

rea Advanced Institute of Science and

Technology (KAIST) and his team de-

veloped a new fastening system that

bonds hydrogen and oxygen mechan-

ically rather than chemically, opening

the way to development of fuel cell

membranes that are less expensive,

easier to manufacture, stronger, and

more efficient. A pattern of tiny cylin-

drical pillars was molded on the face of

the hydrocarbon membrane. The pil-

lars protrude into a softened skin of the

electrode with heat. Next, the mechan-

ical bond sets and strengthens as the

material cools and absorbs water. The

hydrocarbon membrane is cast using

silicone molds.

“This physically fastened bond is

almost five times stronger and hard-

er to separate than current bonds be-

tween the same layers,” says Kim. The

newmethod also appears to offer a way

to bond many types of hydrocarbon

membranes that, until now, have been

rejected because they could not be fas-

tened robustly. This would make these

membranes practical for a number of

applications beyond fuel cells such as

rechargeable “redox flow” batteries.


Photo of solar selective absorber array on

a glass substrate, taken in direct sunlight.