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Digital cellulose

Digital cellulose is a term which refers to cellulose with built-in functionality. Did you know that paper can act as a battery?

Nanofibrillated Cellose with conducting polymers
Photo: Robert Brooke

Digital cellulose is cellulose combined with electro-active materials to create functionality and which can communicate in a digital world yet remain sustainable and eco-friendly. Application areas could be active packaging which can sense and adapt to the surroundings or the creation of large scales rolls with paper that holds charge.

What if the pack could tell you that it's been exposed to humidity? Or if we could minimize food waste. Perhaps we can create novel products or produce textiles with cellulose as a basis?


Power paper
Power paper - with four world records - holds electric charge

Power Paper - By combining cellulose or nanocellulose with conducting polymers we've created a black paper with astonishing properties. The paper is rubbery to touch and possible to manufacture in large quantities, with low input costs. It holds four world records, making it suitable to act as a battery or supercap. For more info, please see article at the LiU webpage.

  • Highest charge and capacitance in organic electronics, 1 C and 2 F (Coulomb and Farad).
  • Highest measured current in an organic conductor, 1 A (Ampere).
  • Highest capacity to simultaneously conduct ions and electrons.
  • Highest transconductance in a transistor, 1 S (Siemens)

The academic publication in Advanced Science y 2015 with scientists from LiU och RISE: An Organic Mixed Ion-Electron Conductor for Power Electronics


Cellulosebased batteries
Photo: Björn Norberg
Printed batteries or supercapacitors based on cellulose derivatives, all organic

Supercaps, or capacitances with specific properties, can be charged and then quickly release charge. At the Printed Electronics Arena in Norrköping, Sweden, we've created small series of supercaps based on the learnings around the Power Paper and in several projects demonstrated the possibilities for upscaling and reproducibility.


Functionalised paper with UV sensors
Photo: Thor Balkhed, LiU

Optoelektronic paper is a paper modified with zinc oxide which creates paper with built-in functionality. We've created a tonne to show it's possible to produce industrially! With printing technology the paper can then be further modified to create sensory functions - one example is printed UV sensors and in the future we might use this concept to clean water through photo-catalysis. Curious? Get in touch!


Wood and cellulose research
Wood, pulp and paper are core industries in the Nordics. Making cellulose electroactive, digital cellulose, is a novel research field.

Within RISE and in Sweden there are massive efforts in cellulose research as cellulose exists naturally and is a fundamental building block in nature, in trees and other plants. It's the most abundant polymer in the world. Did you know that we can 3D-print canoes and furniture in wood? RISE has also recently developed the world's strongest biomaterial from nanocellulose and a new competence center has been created together with Swedish industry with specific focus on Digital Cellulose, the DCC.


More information

By using naturally abundant materials we create tomorrow's electronics and iontronics. We combine materials science, electronics design, industry- and packaging expertise in an interdisciplinary approach.

 

  • The Digital Cellulose Center (DCC) - world class research within a Swedish industrial consortium.
  • Ligna Energy, a spinoff from the innovation cluster in Printed Electronics in Norrköping, Sweden, where LiU and RISE collaborate tightly.
  • Treesearch 
  • Wallenberg Wood Science Center