Using silicon nanowires, researchers at Stanford have managed to create an alternative to conventional lithium-ion batteries. The newly invented battery will have a 10 times greater capacity than Li-ion cells, which translates into mind boggling longevity for portable electronic devices. </p>
The pioneering research team is led by Yi Cui, who spoke modestly of his team's progress by saying, "It's not a small improvement, it's a revolutionary development." If he were talking about anything but increasing the capacity of Li-ion cells by a factor of 10, we would have to say he was talking gibberish. However, if these figures hold true, we think he isn't making a big enough fuss about, what can only be described as, the best invention since chemicals, the wheel, sliced bread, tampons, the Nintendo Wii and other stuff. We think it's nothing short of Gandalf styled wizardry; the development is amazing.
Usually, silicon in a battery begins to swell when the lithium atoms absorb energy, and this process then reverses during use. The continual expansion and shrinking causes the silicon to pulverize, which results in diminishing performance of the cell. The new technology allows lithium to be stored in a "forest" of nanowires (pictured), which does not become as damaged during frequent use. Therefore, not only will these new cells store more charge, they will also last considerably longer too.
The efforts of the team are now patent pending, and although these developments take an age to get to the production line, we have no reservations in saying we are genuinely excited by the news. Watch this space for the 100hr iPod on a single charge. (Please, please, please!) [Stanford News Service]