Super-powered battery breakthrough claimed by US team
A new type of battery has been developed which its creators say could revolutionise the way we power consumer electronics and vehicles.
BBC Tech Section Today
The University of Illinois team says its use of 3D-electrodes allows it to build "microbatteries" that are many times smaller than commercially available options, or the same size and many times more powerful.
It adds they can be recharged 1,000 times faster than competing tech.
However, safety issues still remain.
Details of the research are published in the journal Nature Communications.
The researchers said their innovation should help address the issue that while smartphones and other gadgets have benefited from miniaturised electronics, battery advances have failed to pace.
Batteries work by having two components - called electrodes - where chemical reactions occur.
The scientists' "breakthrough" involved finding a new way to integrate the parts at the microscale.
"The battery electrodes have small intertwined fingers that reach into each other," project leader Prof William King told the BBC.
"That does a couple of things. It allows us to make the battery have a very high surface area even though the overall battery volume is extremely small.
A cross-section of the battery reveals the 3D-design of the research project's anodes and cathodes
"And it gets the two halves of the battery very close together so the ions and electrons do not have far to flow.
"Because we're reduced the flowing distance of the ions and electrons we can get the energy out much faster."
The battery cells were fabricated by adapting a process developed by another team at the university which is designed to make it faster to recharge the batteries than lithium ion (Li-on) and nickel metal hydride (NiMH) equivalents.