Next gen batteries could double your smartphone battery life
Smartphone hardware has evolved at breakneck speed since the original iPhone was unveiled in 2007. Screens have gotten bigger, brighter and so good that you cannot tell individual pixels anymore. You can fly through most tasks that would have taken much longer, or would have been altogether impossible just 5 years ago.
The one thing that has stayed constant throughout this evolution period has been the battery life. Currently, the only way to ensure that you have a usable phone while you are out and about during the day, is to make sure you have it charging overnight. Most flagship phones do not even last all day if you are a power user. Manufacturers prefer to build a phone with a slim profile and compromise on battery life than to build a bigger (read thicker) phone that has true all day battery life.
All this might change according to researchers at Stanford University who have come up with a lithium battery design that can last up to two to three times longer than current batteries. The technology is just in early testing/prototyping phase and not ready for commercial use.
The new battery design uses a carbon nanosphere wall that would better withstand the expansion of the lithium during charge. Basically, when a battery is discharging, there is a chemical reaction going on with the lithium ions inside, the ions expand as they are charging. To counter this (and to not have exploding batteries everywhere), lithium batteries have “barriers/walls” to keep the expansion in check, but these barriers take up a lot of space in the battery. The new carbon nanosphere is exponentially thinner (20 nanometers thin) which means more space for the ions to expand, thus, holding a longer charge for your smartphone to use.
All this sounds great in theory, but as with all emerging technology, it is difficult to not see it as being “too good to be true”. That said, Stanford Researcher Steven Chu is optimistic that, with a bit of work, this new technology could be the next big evolution in the smartphone industry.