The recent return of the Nokia 3310 gave us a reminder of the days when our smartphones could last for a full week, sometimes even longer on a single charge.
However, scientists have now discovered a way of bringing the best feature from the Nokia 3310 – its incredible battery life – to the masses.
Professor John B. Goodenough, who could easily lay claim to the having the best name in the history of science, was the original inventor of the lithium-ion battery and has now come up with an even better, more advanced version.
At 98 years old, Prof. Goodenough has headed up a team of scientists from the University of Texas who have developed the world’s first all solid state battery cell, that could be used to power the smartphones of the future.
And as well as being used in future iPhones, the technology could also be used in power electric cars.
“Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are critical for battery-driven cars to be more widely adopted,” said Professor Goodenough.
“We believe our discovery solves many of the problems that are inherent in today’s batteries.”
The research team have showed how the new battery cells are at least three times as dense than the lithium-ion batteries used today.
This means that instead of needing to be recharged daily, the new batteries could last for a week or even longer on a single charge.
Current lithium-ion batteries use liquid electrolytes to transport ions between the negative (anode) and the positive side of the battery (cathode).
“If a battery cell is charged too quickly, it can cause dendrites or “metal whiskers” to form and cross through the liquid electrolytes, causing a short circuit that can lead to explosions and fires,” the University of Texas explained.
“Instead of liquid electrolytes, the researchers rely on glass electrolytes that enable the use of an alkali-metal anode without the formation of dendrites.”
As well as lasting longer, the new batteries can also withstand sub zero temperatures.
Prof Goodenough said that his team is now looking to partner with a smartphone manufacturer so that their research can be put into production.