Researchers at Stanford, led by former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, report they think they have discovered a way to double and perhaps even triple the battery life of a lithium ion cell. This is good news for owners of smartphones, tablets, electric vehicles, and any of the hundreds of other devices that use lithium ion batteries. The researchers turned to nanotechnology in trying to find a way to protect the lithium anodes in a typical cell from degrading as quickly as they do. They discovered that coating the anodes with “a monolayer of interconnected amorphous hollow carbon nanospheres helps isolate the lithium metal depositions and facilitates the formation of a stable solid electrolyte interphase.”
Besides helping to keep the lithium in better condition for a longer time, thus extending the life, the new technique also helps with safety issues resulting from the decay of the lithium in a battery. As the technique is perfected, this should also allow for the use of denser lithium. Of course, the challenge now will be for battery manufacturers to figure out how to incorporate this into current manufacturing techniques if further testing bears out the benefits to be gained.
source: Nature Nanotechnology