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CAN A 400-YEAR BATTERY BE IN OUR FUTURE?

  • By Admin
  • November 8, 2023
  • 172 Views

Seven years ago, a doctoral student at the University of California at Irvine, Mya Le Thai, accidentally discovered that if she used a gold nanowire in an electrolyte gel, rather than lithium, she could extend the nano-battery life increasing its charging cycles. Note: A battery charging cycle is when the battery goes from fully charged to entirely depleted and back to fully charged. As time, patience, and perseverance can accomplish all things, UCI researchers continued with their nanowire experimentation, but it seemed to result in a common problem – the delicate nanowires would gradually deteriorate and fracture after numerous charging cycles. But Mya Le Thai, on a hunch, decided to coat the nanowires with manganese dioxide and an electrolyte gel reminiscent of Plexiglas. The result was absolutely amazing. When she started cycling these gel capacitors, they surpassed all previous charging cycles. Withing a month it had gone past 30,000 charging cycles. Now, after three months this nanobattery has made it through 200,000 charging cycles. That would extend the life of the average laptop computer by ~400 years, well past its usefulness assuming technology continues its progression at its ever-increasing acceleration rate. The revelation is simply astonishing since the average laptop computer can endure only several hundred charging cycles. This could result in our laptops and smartphones lasting longer and maybe fewer lithium-ion batteries piling up in landfills.

Photo credit: Steve Zylius/UCI