As Stanford researchers, report a heavy boost to current Lithium-Ion technology is just behind the corner. We are to expect up to 10 times more performance out of the same-volume batteries. As the new invention is getting a patent application filed, the assistant professor of materials science and engineering Yi Cui who led the research, is negotiating a deal with battery manufacturers.
It's been a long time since we've seen anything happening on the battery side. This discovery however is nothing less than revolutionary and will either allow mobile phones to last months with a single charge or their batteries will get really minute.
The secret behind this great invention is called silicon nano-wires. Now although it sounds like something coming from the Sci-Fi channel, in fact it's dead simple - it's just a new way of doing things. And in this case - it's a new way of storing the lithium in the battery.
Photos of silicon nanowires taken before (left) and after (right) absorbing lithium. Both photos were taken at the same magnification
Traditionally, the electrical storage capacity of a Li-ion battery is limited by how much lithium can be held in the battery's carbon anode. Silicon has a much higher lithium-storing capacity than carbon, but also has a drawback - charging cycles pulverize it and thus degrade its performance.
Cui's battery gets around this problem with nanotechnology. The lithium is stored in a forest of tiny silicon nanowires, each with a diameter one-thousandth the thickness of a sheet of paper. The nanowires inflate four times their normal size as they soak up lithium. But, unlike other silicon shapes, they do not fracture with time.
We are more than eager to see what the handheld-powered future has in store for us and this new Li-Ion technology.