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Researchers boost Li-ion battery life with nanowires

Posted: 18 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Stanford researchers? Li-ion battery life? silicon nanowire?

Researchers from Stanford University have created a prototype that uses silicon nanowire electrodes to extend the life of Li-ion batteries.

Yi Ciu, professor of Materials Sciences and Engineering, has found that silicon nanowires may be able to increase the life of the batteries by up to 10 times by absorbing more lithium ions than graphite anodes. Anodes are electrodes through which electric current flows into a polarized electrical device. Unlike other silicon anodes, the nanowire anodes remain small and do not break when they expand, according to Ciu.

Cui said that the silicon battery could increase driving time for electric cars, as well as giving gadget lovers more leeway before they have to recharge MP3 players, mobile devices and laptops.

The researchers hope to push their idea to market and said several companies have contacted them to learn more about putting the technology to commercial use.

Cui has filed for a patent and is seeking partnerships with battery manufacturers or other private companies. He believes the technology could go to market within a few years.

Scientists also have looked at hydrogen fuel cells, miniature combustion engines and other alternatives for extending the use of battery-run electronic devices, but those technologies aren't likely to make it to market anytime soon.

At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, Angstrom Power introduced a combination of fuel cell architecture, micro-fluidics and a refillable hydrogen storage tank to replace ion batteries. The platform, called Micro Hydrogen, provides twice the talk time and recharges phones in about 10mins, according to Angstrom Power.

The technology industry has focused on improving Li-ion batteries as consumers demand longer-lasting gadgets.

- K.C. Jones

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