In the future, when a day arrives that your touchscreen smartphone battery will last you for longer than a single day, one of the people who we would like to thank could be Jianyu Huang whose team has invented a rechargeable battery thinner than human hair – or in today’s record, the world’s thinnest and tiniest rechargeable battery.
Scientists led by Sandia National Laboratories researcher Jianyu Huang have created the world’s tiniest battery at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT). Its anode a single nanowire one seven-thousandth the thickness of a human hair, the tiny rechargeable, lithium-based battery was formed inside a transmission electron microscope (TEM) at the CINT, a Department of Energy research facility jointly operated by Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories.
The battery comprises of a three millimeters long lithium cobalt cathode, a single tin oxide nanowire anode and an ionic liquid electrolyte. The anode, which measures 10 nanometers in length and 100 nanometers in diameter, is one seven-thousandth the thickness of a human hair.
“This experiment enables us to study the charging and discharging of a battery in real time and at atomic scale resolution, thus enlarging our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms by which batteries work,” said Huang. The tiny battery created by Huang and co-workers consists of a single tin oxide nanowire anode 100 nanometers in diameter and 10 micrometers long, a bulk lithium cobalt oxide cathode three millimeters long, and an ionic liquid electrolyte.
Although the experiments were carried out using tin oxide nanowires, Huang informed it could be extended to other material systems as well. The work of the team has been reported in the latest issue of the journal Science.
It’s good to hear about those scientists working on improving battery technology, rather than just the chip-makers constantly working to budget power consumption. Because let’s face it – we’re doing a lot more on our mobile gadgets than we were a decade ago; be it shooting hi-def video or using cell-phones as GPS navigation systems. All these things require more power; and with most smartphones measuring in the range of just 9 to 12 mm thickness, I doubt how many would trade back that slimness for better battery life.
This is a guest post by Pete Austin who is a guest blogger for Forensic Science and a writer on Accredited Online Schools for Guide to Online Schools.