Smart Package: Electromagnetic-powered packages ahead?

New technology permits materials whose power derives not just from solar energy, but from the full spectrum of electromagnetic radiation.

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As reported in May 2005 by Konarka and Evident have formed a nanotech alliance to develop novel materials that could in the future power “intelligent” forms of packaging.

Using Konarka Technologies' proprietary polymers and Evident Technologies' EviDots semiconductor nanocrystals the alliance aims to increase the sensitivity of tiny plastic solar cells to a wider range of the light spectrum using high-performance low-cost materials in new form factors.

The two U.S. firms believe that the development of high performance coatable and printable plastic solar cells could eventually be used to power intelligent packaging in the future.

“As part of our continuing efforts to push photovoltaic science forward we’ve learned how to get sensitivity outside the visible light spectrum including the infrared with our polymers” said Russell Gaudiana vice president of research and development Konarka. “This collaboration is focused on determining the best materials to capture more light and how to manufacture them outside the lab environment.”

Chairman Peter Harrop of the smart packaging experts at IDTechEx says of the technology: “Imagine drugs in packages that keep themselves cool while the failed refrigerator of the truck that is carrying them is repaired. Imagine packages that talk to provide instructions and messages when touched by a customer. Imagine packs that vibrate to dispense better or to give 3-D effects. These and many other dreams are coming nearer with improved low-cost solar power. It can be used to charge printed batteries in packages but will also be able to power things directly or via a power smoothing and storing capacitor.”

For more information on this kind of leading-edge packaging see IDTechEx reports Electronic Smart Packaging and Printed Electronics.

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