A smartphone battery that charges in minutes and lasts for three days?
Sounds like a dream, right? But MIT researchers reckon they can turn it into reality, having developed a smartphone battery that could hopefully solve that impossibly frustrating first-world problem of having your phone die on you halfway through the day.
The battery lasts three or four times longer than today’s batteries by storing its energy in balls, or “yolks” inside it, that adapt to its charge by growing or deflating depending on how much electricity they’re storing.
This means the battery can store more electricity without taking up more space, which the researchers claim will lead to a “dramatic” boost in both capacity and power.
The research team, led by MIT professor Ju Li wrote that the choice of materials was also crucial for their revolutionary battery:
The use of nanoparticles with an aluminium yolk and a titanium dioxide shell has proven to be “the high-rate champion among high-capacity anodes”.
The battery is some way away from mass production yet, though, since it relies on aluminium nanoparticles rather than graphite, like most conventional lithium-ion batteries. Although aluminium is cheaply available, converting it into nanoparticles is still impractically costly, and the team’s next step is to get the cost of conversion down.
So change is afoot, but the battery’s not exactly going to be on the market tomorrow. You might want to keep your phone charger to hand for now.