Design and Fabrication of Transparent and Stretchable Zinc Ion Batteries

Transparent electronic devices are opening up unprecedented possibilities in display technology and virtual reality. For some of these applications, it would be advantageous if optical transparency could be combined with stretchability. Of course, all portable electronic devices need an energy source, which is ideally integrated in the form of a battery and must therefore fulfill the same physical properties. However, it is quite challenging to develop a battery in which all the components (electrodes, current collectors, separator/electrolyte, and packaging) are transparent and stretchable. Here we present the development of a transparent and stretchable full zinc ion battery comprising two electrodes deposited on a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrate and a polyacrylamide (PAM) hydrogel electrolyte. The resulting stretchable battery shows a high transmittance of 72.6% and 64.7% at 550 nm without and with 50% strain, respectively. The battery provides a capacity of 176.5 mA h g–1 after 120 cycles under varying strain conditions up to 50%. The battery’s multifunctionality, linking energy storage with stretchability and transparency, makes it attractive for powering future transparent and stretchable electronics.