New battery tech promises 20-second charge

March 13, 2009 | 13:12

Tags: #battery #laptop #li-ion #lithium-ion #notebook

Companies: #mit

Anyone who has sat impatiently waiting for their mobile device to suck enough juice into its battery for them to leave the house should perk up at the news that MIT boffins have come up with a new form of lithium ion battery which can be fully charged in under twenty seconds.

As reported over on TechRadar, the new technology – lithium ion phosphate – can fully charge or discharge at a rate twenty times greater than is possible using current lithium ion batteries. This breakthrough potentially holds the key to laptop batteries which are capable of storing an entire day's charge after just twenty seconds of mains time.

The key to the new battery type lies in a new surface structure, which allows the lithium ions to move rapidly around the outside in order to reach specific points in the material through which they must pass in order to charge or discharge. While traditional lithium ion structures – which are extremely energy dense, but slow to charge – rely on the ions aligning with the points in their own sweet time, the new structure sees the lithium ions racing towards their goal far faster than has ever been possible.

There's excellent news for anyone hoping for a commercialised version of the technology, too: the team at MIT which developed the new system, lead by professor Gerbrand Cedar, believes that – as the technology is merely a modification of existing batteries, and doesn't require a new material but instead merely a new method of creating said material – we could see batteries built around the discovery within two to three years.

The new lithium ion phosphate batteries have other benefits, too – not least of which is that the rate at which the battery degrades and loses its ability to hold a charge is greatly reduced compared to other battery types, providing the possibility for batteries that last as long as the laptop does.

For those of a chemical bent the research has been written up in the most current issue of Nature, or there's a particularly in-depth look over on Ars Technica.

Hoping that this technology will make it in to the marketplace in time for your next upgrade, or are you terrified at the thought of a battery which can hold several amp-hours being able to discharge in ten seconds? Share your thoughts over in the fourms.
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