Best of 2014 // #90: A New Lithium Battery

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Best of 2014: Science - exoplanet

If you get sick of your smartphones’s battery constantly dying on you, Stanford University announced a solution: a pure lithium battery.

READ MORE // My Top 10 Battery Saving Tips

Announced in July, researchers at Stanford took it upon themselves to improve on the traditional smartphone battery.  Traditional smartphone batteries are made up of three main pieces: an electrolyte that carries ions, a cathode which absorbs electrons and the anode, which discharges electrons.

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The batteries we use today use graphite anodes, but anodes made from lithium would be ideal, because the material is lightweight, and can store loads of high energy in a small area.

Lithium Anodes of the past failed because lithium is highly reactive and tend to short-circuit the battery.

To work around this, Stanford Engineer Yi Cui and his team built a super-small, hallow carbon sphere on top of the lithium anode.  The structure – built much like a honeycomb but 1000 times smaller than a human hair – acts like a barrier, protecting the anode from buildup.

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Despite the exciting possibilities, Cui stressed patience, saying it could between three and five years before the new battery design would be ready to get to consumers.

There’s 99 more stories from 2014.  Check out the Best of 2014 series here.

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