Print 12 comment(s) - last by randomly.. on Feb 18 at 9:55 PM

Never replace that rechargeable battery again.

The now nearly ubiquitous lithium-ion battery is quite possibly one of the best things ever to happen to portable electronics. Modern batteries boast good capacities, recharge rates, and charge cycle lifespans. Unfortunately, this does not preclude them from having a lifespan at all. And as anyone who has had to replace a laptop battery or even a cell phone battery knows, they are not inexpensive.

A paper published in the ACS journal 
Nano Letters by researchers from Boston College outlines a new material engineered to replace standard anode materials and performs better than other recently engineered nanowire structures. Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dunwei Wang and his team's new anode uses two-dimensional titanium disilicide (TiSi2) lattices sprinkled with silicon in a structure that they call a nanonet.

The nanonet material's charge/discharge rate was measured to be between five and ten times as fast as standard carbon-based anode material at 8,400mA/g. It's specific capacity during these tests was over 1,000mA-h/g, which doesn't place it ahead of some germanium and silicon anode materials, but firmly ahead of the previously mentioned carbon. The anode material was also incredibly durable, losing only .1% capacity per cycle between the 20th and 100th test cycles.

Wang says the nanonet structure is the key to the durability and speed of the new material. The structure makes it incredibly resilient, while the conductivity creates a good environment for the insertion and removal of the lithium ions. This provides fast recharge times with very little affect to capacitance over the battery's life.

The team plans to next examine the effectiveness of nanonet structures for li-ion battery cathodes.

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RE: Yawn
By randomly on 2/18/2010 9:16:23 AM , Rating: 2
It's true there is a high infant mortality rate for newborn technologies on their way to market. When it comes to batteries though I'm happy to hear about anything that helps even a little.

Our whole society, standard of living, and way of life are built around our use of energy. Batteries are a pivotal technology in that and what our future will be is very closely tied to how batteries develop.

Only an average fade of 0.1% capacity per cycle between 20th and 100th cycle is unfortunately not that good. That's an 8% loss in 80 cycles, which projected out gives the battery a cycle life of only a few hundred cycles. This is the realm of junky Lead Acid car batteries. There are already current production lithium cells with cycle lifes in excess of 5,000 cycles.

1000mah/g capacity on the other hand is pretty good, this is about 3 times what is currently achieved with graphite anodes. Unfortunately anode materials are not the weak link in lithium batteries and their capacity is already 3-4 times the capacity of the cathode materials. High energy density cathode materials are what we really need.

But it's early days on this, maybe something good will come out of it.

We better hope so.

RE: Yawn
By lightfoot on 2/18/2010 12:46:33 PM , Rating: 3
This technology may not ever help us. We would be much better off extending unemployment benefits another 6 months instead of researching useless battery technology. Why worry about the future when there are people who still don't have cell phones today?

RE: Yawn
By randomly on 2/18/2010 9:55:42 PM , Rating: 2
Now that was funny :-)

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