You can divide the world into two kinds of people. Those who manage to keep their phones charged, and those whose batteries always seem to be in the red—the folks who never remember to charge their phones until five minutes before they have to go out the door. This new battery, which can charge in seconds and last all week, is for those scatterbrained folks.
The new tech comes from researchers at the University of Central Florida, and uses super-capacitors to do its job. Capacitors are electrical components designed to store and release electrical charge. They can accept and release the power much faster than a regular battery, but they have—until now—had one big drawback: they’re huge. In order to power a phone, you’d need a “battery” bigger than the phone itself.
The breakthrough down in Florida is to use nano-materials to make the super-capacitor. People have tried to make 2-D nano-batteries before, using nano-materials just a couple of atoms thick, but nobody really cracked it. Now, led by Yeonwoong Jung of the NanoScience Technology Center and the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of Central Florida, a team has successfully made, effectively, nano-capacitors.
The material is made up of millions of nano-sized wires which are covered in a “shell” made of 2-D materials. The wires deliver power at super high speed to the shells, which store the energy until it is needed. Imagine a regular plastic-coated wire, where the coating is storing power, then imagine millions of them shrunken into a thin, flexible sheet, and you’ll get the gist.
Not only is this high-capacity “battery” fast to charge, it’s long-lasting. “If they were to replace the batteries with these super-capacitors, you could charge your mobile phone in a few seconds and you wouldn’t need to charge it again for over a week,” co-author Nitin Choudhary told UCF News.
Not only that, but the team’s nano-battery can be recharged many more times than a regular battery: up to 30,000 times, compared to just 1,500. That means your battery will never fade before your phone dies. In fact, the battery will probably outlast your phone by several times.
The material isn’t yet ready for commercialization, but if it ever makes it into production, fast-charging phones will likely be a small part of its market. Imagine an electric car that can be recharged as fast as filling up with gas, and with batteries that will last the life of the car. That’s something to get excited about.