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Iron phosphate  (Source: MIT)
The new battery isn't ready for commercial development, but it shows great promise

A new battery material created by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) could lead to much faster recharge times for batteries.

MIT professor Gerbrand Ceder and researcher Byoungwoo Kang said the material can discharge energy and recharge nearly 100 times faster than batteries currently used in mobile phones.  Lithium-ion batteries are widely used in laptops as well, and could allow longer battery life and faster recharge time if a user is away from a power source for long durations of time.

"The ability to charge and discharge batteries in a matter of seconds rather than hours may open up new technological applications and induce lifestyle changes," Ceder and Kang sad in the latest edition of Nature.

The duo created a small battery that normally takes six minutes to charge, but used their new traffic flow to recharge the same battery in just 10 to 20 seconds.

It was widely believed the ions and electrons inside the battery moved too slowly, but the researchers noticed that wasn't the case.  They focused on how ions enter nano-scale tunnels aimed at moving electrons around the battery, and eventually created a lithium phosphate coating that helps push ions to the nano-scale tunnels.

Rechargeable lithium batteries used today have the ability to store high amounts of energy, but don't normally release that power, so they discharge very slowly.    

The battery has been supported with federal research money, and two companies have already licensed the technology, MIT announced.  It'd be possible to start mass producing the batteries in two to three years, the MIT researchers said. 





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