Researchers at Stanford University are close to a power breakthrough by creating a pure lithium anode battery that can provide around three times the standard battery life.
Yi Cui, professor of Material Science and Engineering and leader of the research team, likened it to finding the Holy Grail. "Of all the materials that one might use in an anode, lithium has the greatest potential. Some call it the Holy Grail. It is very lightweight and it has the highest energy density. You get more power per volume and weight, leading to lighter, smaller batteries with more power."
The research team published its findings in the Nature Nanotechnology journal. Cui said that lithium batteries have had a persistent issue that no one has been able to fix, until now. That issue relates to the way that lithium expands and affects the battery's anode and cathode.
Guangyuan Zheng, a doctoral candidate and one of the authors of the paper, said: "Lithium has major challenges that have made its use in anodes difficult. Many engineers had given up the search, but we found a way to protect the lithium from the problems that have plagued it for so long."
Also in the research team is Steven Chu, the former US Secretary of Energy, who said that improved batteries would have a dramatic impact and could increase smartphone charge life by as much as 300 percent.
"In practical terms, if we can improve the capacity of batteries to, say, four times today's, that would be exciting," he said. "You might be able to have cell phone with double or triple the battery life."
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