Lithium Ion Battery Breakthrough Could See Devices Last Ten Times As Long
A team of researchers has unveiled an improved lithium ion battery that they claim holds 10 times as much energy - and charges ten times as fast.
The breakthrough could herald mobile phones that don't just last for hours or days but weeks on a single charge.
The team at Northwestern University in the United States says that their research has turned up two new ways to improve the charging process.
Current Li-on batteries work by using layers of graphene, a one-atom-thick wafer of carbon between which the lithium ions are stored.
Charging of the battery takes place when those ions are 'pushed' down through those layers, and the rate of charge is dependent on how fast they can move between them.
The team at Northwestern found that by filling the space between the layers with silicon 'nano clusters' more ions could be stored in the battery, improving the charge by up to 10 times.
Led by Professor Harold Kung, who authored the paper, the team also found that by perforating the graphene sheets with lots of very small holes they could speed up the charging process - again by a factor of 10.
Unfortunately there is a downside - researchers said that after 150 charges the batteries degraded quickly, and only showed an improvement of 5 times over current batteries.
The researchers estimate that the new batteries won't make it to devices for at least three years.