While cellphones have been advancing rapidly over the years, the one thing that hasn't really changed is the battery. But scientists at the University of Illinois have come up with a solution to that problem with the most powerful microbatteries ever.
These microbatteries can charge a smartphone in just one second, instead of the hours it takes to charge a regular smartphone battery.
They are 1,000 times stronger than existing lithium batteries.
"This is a whole new way to think about batteries," lead researcher William King said.
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"A battery can deliver far more power than anybody ever thought. In recent decades, electronics have gotten small. And the battery has lagged far behind. This is a microtechnology that could change all of that. Now the power source is as high-performance as the rest of it."
While modern batteries are slow and clunky, this device offers quick speed and sleek design. It also has the ability to give high energy and high power, so for items that require a lot of energy, like a radio, the battery will enable it to run for a longer amount of time.
"There's always been a sacrifice," James Pikul, a graduate student and author of the paper, said. "If you want high energy you can't get high power; if you want high power it's very difficult to get high energy. But for very interesting applications, especially modern applications, you really need both. That's what our batteries are starting to do."
"We're really pushing into an area in the energy storage design space that is not currently available with technologies today."
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The batteries' high performance is related to its internal three-dimensional microstructure.
Scientists built the battery on a new fast-charging cathode design.
With its power, it is able to allow sensors and radio signals to broadcast 30 times farther on devices 30 times smaller.
They also believe it will help other devices, like medical equipment, lasers and sensors, which are normally small but require a large battery.
"Any kind of electronic device is limited by the size of the battery," King said. "Until now. Consider personal medical devices and implants, where the battery is an enormous brick, and it's connected to itty-bitty electronics and tiny wires. Now the battery is also tiny."