Inspired by the designs printed on T-shirts, researchers recently reported a new class of wearable power sources. To explore the feasibility of power sources directly printed on cotton T-shirts, which look like letters or symbols, they chose electric double layer supercapacitors based on activated carbon materials as a model electrochemical system. These T-shirts look and behave like a normal T-shirt but feature printed supercapacitors in the shape of letters and symbols.
A major challenge in nanotechnology is that of determining how to introduce green and sustainable principles when assembling individual nanoscale elements to create working devices. For instance, textile nanofinishing is restricted by the many constraints of traditional pad-dry-cure processes, such as use of costly chemical precursors to produce nanoparticles, high liquid and energy consumption, production of harmful liquid wastes, and multistep batch operations. By integrating low-cost, scalable, and environmentally benign aerosol processes, these constraints can be circumvented while leading to a new class of multifunctional fabrics.
Nanoengineered functional textiles are going to revolutionize the clothing that you'll wear. The potential of nanotechnology in the development of new materials in the textile industry is considerable. This review discusses electronic and photonic nanotechnologies that are integrated with textiles and shows their applications in displays, sensing, and drug release within the context of performance, durability, and connectivity. On the one hand, existing functionality can be improved using nanotechnology and on the other, it could make possible the manufacture of textiles with entirely new properties or the combination of different functions in one textile material.
The age of wearable electronics is upon us as witnessed by the fast growing array of smart watches, fitness bands and other advanced, next-generation health monitoring devices such as electronic stick-on tattoos. In order for these wearable sensor devices to become fully integrated into sophisticated monitoring systems, they require wireless interfaces to external communication devices such as smartphones. This requires far-field communication systems that, like the sensor systems, perform even under extreme deformations and during extended periods of normal daily activities.
New solar cell technology allows your T-shirt to generate power from its interwoven solar cell wires. Researchers have developed a novel efficient wire-shaped polymer solar cell by incorporating a thin layer of titania nanoparticles between the photoactive material and electrode. An aligned carbon nanotube fiber enabled high flexibility and stability of the resulting polymer solar cell. These miniature polymer solar cell wires, when woven into textiles, can serve as a power source.
Researchers report the fabrication of flexible, durable, and self-assembled graphene textile electrodes for supercapacitors using a novel wet-spinning approach of ultra large graphene oxide liquid crystals followed by heat-treatment to obtain graphene fibers. The key to producing such fibers and yarns is to preserve the large sheet size even after the reduction of GO while simultaneously maintaining a high interlayer spacing in between graphene sheets. These graphene yarns could lead the way to the realization of powerful next-generation multifunctional renewable wearable energy storage systems.
Going hand in hand with the development of wearable electronic textiles, researchers are also pushing the development of wearable and flexible energy storage to power those e-textiles. Researchers have now developed wearable textile batteries that can be integrated with flexible solar cells and thus be recharged by solar energy. The team found unconventional materials for all of the key battery components and integrated them into a fully wearable battery.
The future of your clothes will be electronic. Not only will electronic devices be embedded on textile substrates, but an electronics device or system could become the fabric itself. These electronic textiles will have the revolutionary ability to sense, compute, store, emit, and move - think biomedical monitoring functions or new man-machine interfaces, not to mention game controllers - while leveraging an existing low-cost textile manufacturing infrastructure. In new work, a group of scientists from Korea have now reported novel method for the fabrication of conductive, flexible, and durable graphene textiles wrapped with reduced graphene oxide.