Feeds

Doped nanotubes boost lithium battery power three-fold

Stringy silicon also recharges in minutes

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

A team from the University of Southern California (USC) has built a lithium battery that provides three times the power capacity of conventional designs, with a recharge time of just ten minutes and a predicted long life-span.

"It's an exciting research. It opens the door for the design of the next generation lithium-ion batteries," said Chongwu Zhou, professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, who led the team that developed the battery, in a statement.

Many lithium batteries, particularly in the mobile space, use graphite as an anode but this has limited capacity. Silicon is an obvious replacement and works well, but suffers from performance issues after repeated charging cycles, so the team decided to see if carbon nanotubes are more effective.

The nanowires were doped with boron and a commercially available alginic acid sodium salt solution, rather than the more commonly used polyvinylidene fluoride. The resulting battery performed better than expected and the design looks to be a viable player for use in everything from mobile phones to electric cars.

"The porous silicon nanowires exhibit superior electrochemical performance and long cycle life as an anode material in lithium ion batteries when combined with the alginate binder," the team wrote in a paper published in Nano Letters.

"Even after 250 cycles, the capacity remains stable above 2000, 1600, and 1100 mAh/g at current rates of 2, 4, and 18 A/g, respectively. Our best battery has recorded 2000 cycles with a capacity remaining above 1000 mAh/g.

The team says the battery needs further testing but shouldn't take more than two or three years to get into volume production. Boeing could certainly be one firm that should be interested, given its problems with inflammable 787 Dreamliners, but there will be plenty of other takers as well.

Battery technology hasn't developed with the same speed as the electronics it powers, and manufacturers are desperate for something that can allow them to run systems at full grunt and not leave users powerless. This new research could bring that a little closer, but there have been a lot of false alarms along the way. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.