Poor battery life is the favorite complaint when it involves smartphones and laptops. As a wireless society, having to tether ourselves right down to power up our gadgets seems more and more a nuisance. And while researchers are looking into wireless charging, if batteries were better we might worry less.
Now, a brand new technology promises just that. Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, have invented a nanowire-based battery that may be recharged many thousands of times, a big leap towards a battery that doesn’t require replacing.
Nanowires possess several ideal characteristics for electric storage and transmission. they’re highly conductive and thousands of times thinner than somebody’s hair, which implies they’ll be arranged to supply an oversized area for electron transfer. Unfortunately, nanowires are usually very fragile and don’t act after repeated charging and discharging.
The researchers, whose findings are published within the American Chemical Society’s Energy Letters, have coated gold nanowires in manganese dioxide and cocooned them in an exceedingly Plexiglas-like gel. this mixture keeps all the properties of the nanowires’ intact and makes them proof against fractures.
Mya Le Thai, the lead study author, has charged and discharged the battery up to 200,000 times without breaking the nanowires and without loss of capacity.
“Mya was fooling around, and she or he coated this whole with a really thin gel layer and commenced to cycle it,” said senior author Reginald Penner, chair of UCI’s academic department, in a very statement. “She discovered that just by using this gel, she could cycle it many thousands of times without losing any capacity.”
“That was crazy,” he added, “because these items typically die in dramatic fashion after 5,000 or 6,000 or 7,000 cycles at the most.”
The researchers believe that the mix of the PMMA (plexiglass-like) gel electrolyte and therefore the magnesia gives flexibility and structure to the nanowires, preventing cracking and thus extending their operational life.
“The coated electrode holds its shape far better, making it a more reliable option,” Thai said. “This research proves that a nanowire-based battery electrode can have a protracted lifetime which we will make these types of batteries a reality.”