Having enough battery power has always been a concern for users of mobile devices and for scientists in general. A new superbattery developed by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers can solve this problem once and for all.
The new lithium-ion microbattery is not only 2,000 times more powerful than any other batteries on the market, but also very small, only a tiny fraction of the batteries in use nowadays. The Illinois scientists are planning to shrink the battery even further, in order to make it fit into a device as thin as a credit card.
The tiny size was achieved by redesigning the battery’s poles, which are solid in traditional accumulators. The new battery’s anode and cathode are three-dimensional, porous structures which enable fast charging. This means the new invention offers more power and is able to recharge 1,000 times faster than other batteries. Scientists say the battery is also able to power up a smartphone in a matter of seconds, while actually jumpstarting a vehicle.
The Illinois University team led by Professor William King is now working to make the new technology available for widespread use, by creating an affordable and attractive product. There are some safety concerns regarding the battery, as the current electrolyte it uses is a combustible liquid substance. In small-scale batteries the risk is negligible, but the danger could become more significant in larger size accumulators. Professor King acknowledged the risks, but explained that he is planning to use a polymer-based electrolyte in future models in order to address all safety issues.
Scientists hope the new battery will be available to consumers in one or two years. Professor King said the technology will be first used to replace current supercapacitators in various electronics. Such a powerful battery could have virtually endless applications, allowing easy storage of energy and making it possible to power up several devices simultaneously with a single accumulator.
[Image via Mashable]