A team of researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that just by using a gold nanowire-based battery material could provide better charging over current ones. This technology has proven that smartphone batteries can be recharged hundreds of thousands of times without ever corroding. Their findings were published on Wednesday, in the journal Energy Letters.
This new battery technology could help developing longer lasting commercial batteries for computers, smartphones, cars and spacecraft in the future. The product is not ready to go in the market, said one of the researchers, Dr. Reginald Penner, chemistry professor at the University. The study is, so far, only testing nanowires and not a practical battery, yet it shows promising developments ahead.
Currently, one of the many problems with the rechargeable lithium battery technology that smartphones use, is that the materials on the inside become corroded and then fail to last a long time. Meaning that the battery is not able to hold a charge after it’s corroded. Asides from the fact the people have to charge their at least once a day, this new type of battery could hold a sigfinicantly greater charge.
Dr. Penner said, “Scientists are interested in nanowires because they allow high power to be obtained, without reducing the total amount of energy that is stored.”
He also added that “Nanowires are fragile. Any corrosion or dissolution of the nanowire material leads very quickly to breakage of the nanowire, and a loss of its capacity — which is bad. Our research is important because it demonstrates that a very simple modification to a battery or capacitor may allow nanowire electrode materials to last a lot longer, up to 40 times longer in our studies.”
Gold is the word
The researchers, for the study, coated the gold nanowires with a manganese dioxide shell and encased in an electrolyte made of a Plexiglas-like gel. It’s no surprise gold is being used for this innovative research, given that its used from smartphone’s circuits to NASA’s spacecrafts. After that, the researchers tested the power of the electrode up to 200,000 times over three months, finding that there was no loss of capacity or power and the nanowires didn’t fracture, despite all of the tests.
Nonetheless, Mr. Penner also said that the study is not trying to extend the cycle life of the electrodes, but instead they were trying to make a solid state version of them by substituting a gel electrolyte for the liquid electrolyte.
But what the researchers actually concluded was that the gel made the metal oxide in the battery more plastic, which makes it more flexible, while also preventing any cracking, allowing it to last longer than expected.
“The coated electrode holds its shape much better, making it a more reliable option,” said research lead author Mya Le Thai, a UCI doctoral candidate, in a statement. “This research proves that a nanowire-based battery electrode can have a long lifetime and that we can make these kinds of batteries a reality.”
Source: Energy Letters