The approach relies on the use of carbon nanotubes - tiny cylinders of carbon - to collect electric charge. Dip a piece of paper into ink infused with carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires, it morphs into a real battery. Crumple the piece of paper and it still works.

These are some of the newest ways of storing power, says Stanford University researcher Yi Cui, assisitant professor of material science and engineering.

Stanford scientists are harnessing nanotechnology to quickly produce ultra-lightweight, bendable batteries and supercapacitors in the form of everyday paper.

Post doctoral students in the lab of Yi Cui, light up a diode from a battery made from treated paper, similar to what you would find in a copy machine.

The paper batteries are treated with a nanotube ink, baked and folded into electrical generating sources.

Simply coating a sheet of paper with ink made of carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires makes a highly conductive storage device, said Yi Cui.

"Society really needs a low-cost, high-performance energy storage device, such as batteries and simple supercapacitors," a Stanford statement quoted him as saying.

Like batteries, capacitors hold an electric charge, but for a shorter period of time. However, capacitors can store and discharge electricity much more rapidly than a battery.

Cui's work was published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.