Scientist proposes quantum über-battery
Ten times the energy density of lithium-ion
Boffins in Illinois believe they have figured out how to design a battery with ten times the energy density of the best of today's lithium-ion batteries.
Their challenge now: work out how to make the thing.
The design is called a "digital quantum battery" and it comes from University of Illinois Director of the Center for Complex Systems Research Alfred Hubler, who has written up his thoughts in a piece penned for the journal Complexity.
That battery incorporates a vast number of microscopic capacitors build from electrodes 10nm apart, separated by an insulator. According to Hubler, quantum effects, present because of nanometre scale of the capacitor, prevent the charge on one electrode jumping to the other when the electric field between the electrodes reaches a critical point.
The upshot: a capacitor that can hold a monster charge, relatively speaking. Build an array containing billions of these things and you have the makings of an über-battery for laptops, e-cars and the like.
Charging time would be several orders of magnitude quicker than is the case with today's lithium-ion power packs, Hubler reckons.
If all this is beginning to sound like the proverbial free lunch, it gets better. Hubler believes the manufacturing techniques used by the likes of Intel and AMD to make chips could be used to build these nanocapacitor arrays. A prototype could be built in a year, apparently, provided someone coughs up some cash to fund the research. ®
While your maths seem right some of your assumptions are doubtful. I'm not sure if you have acess to more information than what was in the article but I'll start there.
You have presumed the capacitors are cubes. A reasonable guess given the lack of information. Reducing the thickness between the electrodes increases the capacitance so a thinner dielectric is a very good idea. A 1 nm thick dielectric would be a good idea. A capacitor design of 2nm electrodes and 1nm dielectric would double the capacitance. OTOH that needs the dielectric has a breakdown voltage of 1Gv/m, which is pretty substantial.
Much more doubtful is that you have assumed that each holds 1 electrons charge. Given the electron radius is roughly 2.58 x 10-15m giving roughly a *potential* 3.75x 10^12 electrons spread over the whole 10 nm square area. While it's highly implausible that you could achieve this it suggests that 1 electron per capacitor is *very* conservative.
Mine's the one with "Semiconductor devices" by Sze in the pocket.
is 3.6 seconds actually all that hard for recharging capacitors ?
"This could then mean that milions of mobile phones are charged only for as long needed rarther than overnight. This could save a lot of CO2 being waisted as the phone charger sits trying to top up the phones battery all night when it only needed charging for say 3 hours."
This is nonsense. I recommend you go and read David Mackay's book "Sustainable Energy - Without the hot air". It is extremely good and reveals the true facts about sustainable energy. Two quotes from this book are relevant here: "All the energy saved in switching off your charger for one day is used up in one second of car-driving." and "obsessively switching off the phone-charger is like bailing the Titanic with a teaspoon."
Lithium-Air batteries seem more likely to be mass produced than these.
Err capacitors dont use vacuums. Just a insulator.
the chips would be about as heavy as the same volume of sand.