Future gadget batteries could last 10 times longer

“While smartphones, smarthomes and even smart wearables are growing ever more advanced, they’re still limited by power. The battery hasn’t advanced in decades. But we’re on the verge of a power revolution. Big technology companies, and now car companies that are making electric vehicles, are all too aware of the limitations of current lithium-ion batteries. While chips and operating systems are becoming more efficient to save power we’re still only look at a day or two of use on a smartphone before having to recharge. That’s why universities are getting involved.”

Photo by https://gigaom.com

Batteries continue to be the bane of mobile devices, but research done at Northwestern University could change that, with longer-lasting batteries that charge in minutes, not hours. The new science shouldn’t increase the size of batteries but instead modifies the chemical reaction that takes place inside lithium-ion power packs, allowing for 10 times the capacity, says PC Mag. Don’t run out to the store looking for these batteries just yet, though: They are not expected to hit the market for three to five years.

According to Northwestern’s Professor Harold Kung, the longer-lasting batteries take advantage of two new processes. First, the number of lithium-ion atoms in the battery’s electrode are boosted by using silicon in place of carbon between sheets of graphene in the battery. It sounds complicated, but the gist is this: Silicon works 24 times more efficiently with lithium ions compared to carbon, which is used in traditional batteries.

Second, the research team scored the graphine sheets with microscopic holes, allowing the lithium ions to travel faster within the battery. These techniques improve both the recharge time and density of lithium ions, which equates to longer-lasting batteries with fast recharge times, perhaps as little as 15 minutes. Kung explains the process as having “[T]he best of both worlds. We have much higher energy density because of the silicon, and the sandwiching reduces the capacity loss caused by the silicon expanding and contracting.”

Read more: https://gigaom.com/2011/11/16/future-gadget-batteries-could-last-10-times-longer/