Scientists Develop Irreplaceable Battery
Imagine needing only one battery for your device ever, one that doesn’t lose its charge no matter the number of times it has been plugged in. Thanks to a group of American researchers, wonder no more!
Lead study author, Mya Le Thai – from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) – was experimenting with electrical capacitors, then decided to coat one with a thin layer of a plexiglass-like gel and started cycling (recharging) the battery.
The coating enabled the device to be charged 200 000 times in three months, all the while retaining its ability to keep its charge.
Reginald Penner, senior author on the study and chair of UCI’s chemistry department said: “Mya discovered that just by using this gel, she could cycle it hundreds of thousands of times without losing any capacity. That was crazy, because these things typically die in dramatic fashion after 5 000 or 6 000 or 7 000 cycles at most.”
The new battery has components a thousand times thinner than a human hair – which are brittle, but enable a much larger surface area for electron transference. The nanowires are made from coated gold manganese dioxide and are encased in the aforementioned gel, providing much-needed protection and keeping their properties intact.
The research requires fine-tuning before we see it being used in contemporary devices, but the prospect of nanowire-based batteries that last a lifetime is truly a quantum leap forward in energy-storing technology.
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