Researchers Stretching the Life of Phone Batteries

It’s an inevitable, frustrating part of our gadget-dependent society and workplace: dead batteries. Batteries in today’s smartphones generally don’t even last through the work day with heavy usage, meaning that a forgotten charging cord can mean trouble. Researchers at Northwestern University, however, are developing a new generation of batteries that could charge in minutes and last for hours longer than what we have today. GigaOm Mobile explains the technology behind the research.

Future gadget batteries could last 10 times longer

Batteries continue to be the bane of mobile devices, but research done at Northwestern University could change that, with longer-lasting batteries that charge in minutes, not hours. The new science shouldn’t increase the size of batteries but instead modifies the chemical reaction that takes place inside lithium-ion power packs, allowing for 10 times the capacity, says PC Mag. Don’t run out to the store looking for these batteries just yet, though: They are not expected to hit the market for three to five years. According to Northwestern’s Professor Harold Kung, the longer-lasting batteries take advantage of two new processes. First, the number of lithium-ion atoms in the battery’s electrode are boosted by using silicon in place of carbon between sheets of graphene in the battery. It sounds complicated, but the gist is this: Silicon works 24 times more efficiently with lithium ions compared to carbon, which is used in traditional batteries.

Read the rest at GigaOm Mobile.

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