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Silicon Nanowires Before and After Absorbing Lithium  (Source: Stanford News Service)
New lithium-ion battery using silicon nanowires will store ten times the energy of current lithium-ion batteries

Many electronic devices -- from notebooks to cell phones -- rely on batteries for operation. Rechargeable batteries account for much of the weight in today’s electronic devices so the size of the battery has to be tempered with battery life to get an ideal product.

Stanford assistant professor of materials science and engineering Yi Cui, graduate student Candace Chan and five other researchers made a breakthrough for lithium-ion batteries. The researchers used silicon nanowires in the battery anodes to design new lithium-ion batteries that can hold ten times the electrical charge of current batteries of the same size.

Cui told the Stanford News Service, “It's not a small improvement. It's a revolutionary development.” Cui and his team were able to get the greatly increased electrical storage capacity by growing silicon nanowires on a stainless steel substrate, which provides excellent electrical conduction.

Researchers say that the amount of energy a currently lithium-ion battery can store is dependent on the amount of lithium it can store in its anode typically made from carbon. Silicon has a higher storage capacity than carbon. The use of silicon in lithium-ion batteries had been attempted before but the growing and shrinking process caused by adding and removing lithium caused the silicon to break down severely degrading the performance of the battery.

Chan says, “The people kind of gave up on it [silicon] because the capacity wasn't high enough and the cycle life wasn't good enough. And it was just because of the shape they were using. It was just too big, and they couldn't undergo the volume changes.”

The silicon nanowires used in the researcher’s batteries are tiny at about one-thousandth of the thickness of a sheet of paper and are able to inflate to four times their normal size as they take in lithium without breaking during the duty cycle of the battery. The researchers say that the infrastructure behind silicon is mature meaning the new technology could be pushed to market quickly.

Cui has filed a patent application and is considering starting a company to product batteries based on the technology or collaborating with an established battery maker. This development could also mean much smaller and lighter batteries than we have today that store as much electricity, which would be a huge boon for mobile electronics.

Cui sees the new and improved lithium-ion batteries as being particularly interesting to electric vehicle makers such as GM with its Chevy Volt due in 2010.



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RE: Awesome
By CubicleDilbert on 12/20/2007 2:24:13 PM , Rating: 4
You are forgetting Murphy's general "Law of Inertia"!

such as:
The weight of a bicycle is constant, regardless of technology. The lighter and more advanced the bicycle, the heavier the accompanying metal lock.

or:

The working performance of a computer is constant. The more powerful the system, the more power hungry the software. Which says, writing a letter in MS Office anno 1992 takes the same amount of time as writing it in 2007. The perceived speed of the PC is constant. Pentium 1 and Windows 95 is speed-wise similar to Pentium Core and Vista.

therefore:
The battery time of any device is constant, regardless of the underlying battery.
Proof:
Thinkpad 755 (1994) 3-4h
Thinkpad 570 (1998) 3-4h
Thinkpad T23 (2002) 3-4h
Thinkpad T40 (2004) 3-4h
Thinkpad T60 (2007) 3-4h

same with cell phones!
Any new battery performance will be sucked up with more powerful systems and gadget features.

Proof
Siemens C25 (1998) 1 day talking
Siemens C45 (2002) 1 day talking
or
Nokia N95 (2007) 1 day talking

Summa summarum:
a device with this new battery will perform EXACTLY as before (but will have a lot of more performance doing in the end exactly the same work as a generation before)


"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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