Tiny powder electrodes could power tech for longer

We’re all asking more from our gadgets these days: not only do we want the best, fastest specs on the biggest, clearest screens, we don’t want to lose the use of our smartphone several times a day while we wait for the blooming thing to charge up. Again.

Until now, companies have responded by adding larger batteries to their devices (or by shrugging their shoulders and mumbling that’s the best they can do). But the answer might not be to turn to increasingly super-sized battery packs, but to make battery technology better.

According to a new study published in the Science and Technology of Advanced Materials, the negative electrodes on the next generation of lithium ion batteries could be made up of nano-sized composite silicon-based powders which can power tech for longer while taking up the minimum of space. The authors, Keiichiro Homma, Makoto Kambara and Toyonobu Yoshida say they have successfully produced and tested these powders and demonstrated a noticeable improvement in battery performance as a result.

It will probably be a while before these powders are seen (or rather, not seen) in the latest smartphones, but in future this should mean less environmental waste, less need to buy expensive external battery packs, and less desperate searching for a plug socket while cursing the manufacturer of your choice when you’re out and about in the middle of the day. Phew.

Image via Pete Slater’s Flickr.

Diane Shipley