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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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