Lithographically printed voltaic cells – a feasibility study

It has been shown that circuit interconnects and various passive components can be fabricated on a variety of flexible substrates using the offset lithographic process. This paper reports on a feasibility study investigating the manufacture of voltaic cells deposited via offset lithography. The Leclanche´ cell, an established battery chemistry, was chosen as an appropriate technology for adaptation to the offset lithographic process. Development of inks with appropriate rheological properties for lithographic printing was undertaken. Zinc and carbon electrodes were fabricated with silver-based current collectors. Electrolyte composition was investigated along with separator materials. Zinc and carbon-based inks have been produced which result in deposited material appropriate for use as electrodes. A separator material soaked in electrolyte has been combined with these electrode structures and an MnO2 paste to form a voltaic cell. A printed battery, made up of these voltaic cells, with a capacity greater than 8 mAh at 6 V has been produced. The fabrication of voltaic cells via offset lithography facilitates the production of electronic systems with power sources provided by the same printing process. This paper provides information of interest to all those involved in the developing industry of printed and flexible electronics.