Redesigned lithium ion battery charges faster, holds charge longer

Battery life on smartphones, such as the HTC Droid Incredible, has never been stellar, but longer-lasting cells might be on the way.

Josh Miller/CNET)

Battery life is always an issue with today’s gadgets, from smartphones to tablets to electric cars, but researchers at Northwestern University have come up with a new technology that might lead to longer-lasting devices in the next few years.

Engineers from Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science discovered a way to redesign today’s lithium ion cells, which are used in a number of consumer electronics, to address two major problems with today’s batteries: energy capacity and charging time.

“We have found a way to extend a new lithium ion battery’s charge life by 10 times,” explained Harold H. Kung, professor of chemical and biological engineering at McCormick and lead author of the research paper. “Even after 150 charges, which would be one year or more of operation, the battery is still five times more effective than lithium ion batteries on the market today.”

The team was able to do this by making changes to the material used in a battery and the way ions travel within a cell.

Understanding how lithium ion batteries work
To better understand the technology, it’s helpful to know how lithium ion batteries wo… [Read more]

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