smarterplanet:

Future gadget batteries could last 10 times longer | GigaOm

Batteries continue to be the bane of mobile devices, but research done at Northwestern University could change that with longer lasting batteries that charge in minutes, not hours. The new science shouldn’t increase the size of batteries, but instead modifies the chemical reaction that takes place inside lithium-ion power packs, allowing for 10 times the capacity, says PC Mag. Don’t run out to the store looking for these batteries just yet, though: They’re not expected to hit the market for 3 to 5 years.

According to Northwestern’s Professor Harold Kung, the longer-lasting batteries take advantage of two new processes. First, the number of lithium-ion atoms in the battery’s electrode are boosted by using silicon in place of carbon between sheets of graphene in the battery. It sounds complicated, but the gist is this: Silicon works 24 times more efficiently with lithium ions compared to carbon, which is used in traditional batteries.

Second, the research team scored the graphine sheets with microscopic holes, allowing the lithium ions to travel faster within the battery. These techniques improve both the recharge time and density of lithium ions, which equates to longer-lasting batteries with fast recharge times; perhaps as little as 15 minutes.

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