Lithium-ion batteries, such as those used in your laptop, mobile phone or hybrid car, are extremely important in today’s world but are limited by the amount of lithium ions that the typically carbon anode can hold. Stanford announced this week they’ve developed a new method that can increase the amount of charge held by as much as 10 times.
The new battery uses what is perhaps the technology of the next ten years – nanowires. At large scale, the swelling of the lithium ions when they absorb positive charge breaks the structure of the silicon holding them. The researches instead used a mesh of microscopic silicon nanowires that bend and swell under the pressure but do not break. The researcher, Yi Cui, said:
Manufacturing the nanowire batteries would require “one or two different steps, but the process can certainly be scaled up,” he added. “It’s a well understood process.”
I’ll look forward to my laptop with 25 hour battery life in a few years, then.
[via Daily Kos, image from the Stanford article, apologies for my absence this week – I’ve been wrestling with my wireless connection on Ubuntu Gutsy]