Super Micro-Battery Breakthrough

Posted by · April 17, 2013 2:02 pm
new batteries

High-power battery technology from the University of Illinois. Ions flow between three-dimensional micro-electrodes in a lithium ion battery.

A new version of a lithium-ion battery developed by researchers at the University of Illinois could drastically improve the way we are able to power mobile devices and even vehicles.  They claim that the technology will produce ten times the amount of power in the same amount of space and can be recharged 1,000 times faster than current batteries on the market.

Smartphones have trained consumers to accept that a reasonable battery life for their devices is a full day of use. We expect to be able to send and receive email and picture messages, plus stream music and video, and still have enough battery life for a few voice calls and only run out of juice the moment we are ready to plug it in at our bedside when we turn in for the night.

Research team leader William P. King, professor of mechanical science and engineering, commented that battery technology has thus far lagged behind the other parts of devices that have been successfully downsized.

“This is a whole new way to think about batteries,” King said in a press release. “A battery can deliver far more power than anybody ever thought…This is a microtechnology that could change all of that. Now the power source is as high-performance as the rest of it.”

The new batteries are able to harness large amount of energy and power due to a unique structure designed by the engineering team. The statement on the paper describes how Professor King and grad student James Pikul designed the unique and powerful new battery:

The batteries owe their high performance to their internal three-dimensional microstructure. Batteries have two key components: the anode (minus side) and cathode (plus side). Building on a novel fast-charging cathode design by materials science and engineering professor Paul Braun’s group, King and Pikul developed a matching anode and then developed a new way to integrate the two components at the microscale to make a complete battery with superior performance.

Other devices that will benefit from the tiny new batteries are not limited to smartphones. There are new possibilities for medical devices such as hearing aids or other sensors that might have cumbersome battery packs. However, the new batteries may not be on the market for some time, as VentureBeat points out. The next step for the team is to study affordable solutions for materials and manufacturing.

For more on battery tech…

  • Dennis St. John

    Cannot come soon enough, IMHO! It’s already late enough as it is!

  • Nassim7

    For 40+ years I have regularly reading similar headlines. No one would be happier than me if a cheap battery of that description were to arrive. If only an expensive version makes its appearance, you can rest assured that it will be used by the military for drones that can carry more electronics and stay aloft much longer – hardly something worthwhile.

    The press release suggests that the people behind this announcement do not know much about electric circuits. I quote “a driver could use a cellphone powered by these batteries to jump-start a dead car battery – and then recharge the phone in the blink of an eye.”

    All batteries have an internal resistance and they become part of the electric circuit that they are wired to. The formula ir**2 applies (current multiplied by the square of the resistance). In this example, the heat generated within the battery would instantly meltdown the mobile phone and set the hand holding it on fire:

  • Earl

    Some talk that China is taking the lead on super capacitor batteries, will these batteries be able to compete?