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New battery design may lead to faster charging, long-lasting smartphones


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Washington:  Scientists, including those of Indian origin, have developed a novel design for lithium ion batteries which could double the capacity of smartphones or personal computers and increase their charging speed.

The battery consists of a net-like structure, called a "nanochain," that could significantly enhance lithium ion charge capacity in batteries, cutting down the charging time.

The battery, described in the journal ACS Nano Materials, uses the semi-metal antimony, and has an increased capacity to store lithium ions.

This is important, according to the study, as the life of electronic devices like smartphones and computers depends on the ion storage capacity in the material that makes up a battery's negative electrode.

If the battery runs out of these ions, it will stop generating electrical current to run the device, the study noted.

According to the researchers including Vilas Pol and V Ramachandran of Purdue University in the US, materials with a higher lithium ion storage capacity tend to be either too heavy or of the wrong shape to replace graphite -- which is the material commonly used in batteries as electrodes.

The researchers found that when coin cell batteries with the nanochain electrode were charged for 30 minutes, they achieved double the lithium-ion capacity for 100 charge-discharge cycles, compared to commonly used graphite electrodes.

While some batteries already use similar electrodes, the materials making them up tend to expand up to three times as they take in lithium ions, becoming a safety hazard over time.

"You want to accommodate that type of expansion in your smartphone batteries. That way you're not carrying around something unsafe," Pol said.

The nanochain, according to the researchers, also keeps lithium ion capacity stable for at least 100 charging-discharging cycles.

"There's essentially no change from cycle 1 to cycle 100, so we have no reason to think that cycle 102 won't be the same," Pol added.

According to the researchers, the electrode design has the potential to be scalable for larger batteries.

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