Following up on Toshiba's recent SCiB lithium-ion battery breakthrough
, researchers discovered a way to use silicon nanowires to give rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries used in laptops, iPods, mobile phones and just about everything else these days, as much as 10 times more charge. This gives a conventional Li-Ion battery-powered laptop 40 hours of battery charge instead of just four.
According to ZDNet Australia
, the new Li-ion batteries based on silicon were developed by assistant professor Yi Cui and colleges at Stanford University's Materials Science and Engineering Department. Traditional batteries use graphite to hold lithium, but their storage capacity is limited.
According to Cui, silicon anodes have the "the highest theoretical charge capacity". Unfortunately, silicon placed in a battery swells as it absorbs positively charged lithium atoms during charging, then shrinks down uring use as the lithium is drawn out of the silicon. This expansion and shrink cycle typically causes the silicon to pulverize, degrading the performance of the battery. The article states, "This dead end stumped researchers for 30 years, who instead poured their energy into improving graphite based anodes in an effort to expand battery life." Cui said he solved this problem using a new type of anode that utilizes silicon nanowires.
In this new type of anode, the lithium is stored in a mesh of tiny silicon nanowires, each with a diameter one-thousandth the thickness of a sheet of paper. The nanowires inflate to four times their normal size as they absorb lithium but do not fracture when they lose their charge.
So when can we get our 40hour batteries that will finally allow us to fly anywhere in the world without carrying 5 battery packs? Well, according to ZDNet, Cui has filed a patent on the technology, and is considering formation of a company or an agreement with a battery manufacturer and expects the battery to be commercialized and available within "several years", pending testing.
Damn I can't wait "several years". Screw testing! Who cares if the lithium batteries blow-up and fly shrapnel 50 feet in the air
. I want my 40 hour charge, damn it!
(image: AT&T U-Verse's lithium battery explosion. See story)