The research team over at Samsung has found a way to almost double the capacity of lithium ion batteries, according to new reports this week. The research arm of the company has found a way to make a new type of silicon cathode material for coating the graphene of the silicon surface of batteries, which means it can support almost twice the energy level of current battery tech.
Samsung invents longer lasting battery
Some of the details of the discovery were revealed in Nature.com.
The graphene layers anchored onto the silicon surface accommodate the volume expansion of silicon via a sliding process between adjacent graphene layers. When paired with a commercial lithium cobalt oxide cathode, the silicon carbide-free graphene coating allows the full cell to reach volumetric energy densities of 972 and 700 Wh l−1 at first and 200th cycle, respectively, 1.8 and 1.5 times higher than those of current commercial lithium-ion batteries.
However, for most people, the improvements in the lithium ion battery density have typically meant that companies can create smaller batteries, rather than longer lasting ones. As our smartphones become ever more thin and sleek, with companies like Apple at the front of the race, the batteries also need to be smaller too, but also provide at least a full day’s usage. So even though we can expect slimmer devices and an improvement in battery life, in practice we probably can’t expect new phones with double the typical battery life anytime soon.
Many people have been waiting for significant battery life improvements for many years, and of course lots would argue that thinness should not be at the expense of a decent battery life. Other components used in smartphones on the other hand have witnessed huge improvements over the last few years, such as improved cameras, higher resolution screens and better colour accuracy.
But the time has come for a breakthrough in battery tech. Lithium ion has been in use now since the early 90s, after all…