Researchers at the University of Southern California have finished one of their latest projects, which will supplement the energy efficiency of hardware today even further than anyone may have dared hope for.Batteries are one of the essential components of all consumer electronics devices, or other tech products, that are cable-free.
Most of them are small and possible to carry around in a pocket or bag, but some are larger, like field packs and such.
Either way, what they all have in common is a reliance on battery power.
The most common used in PCs and all other devices today, from phones to mobile routers, are lithium-ion batteries.
Researchers at the University of Southern California have managed to triple the energy capacity of such batteries, even as they cut the recharge time from several hours to 10 minutes.
Their solution involved disposing of the thin sheets of carbon graphite located at each electrode, or the lithium-silicon cells in newer batteries (silicon replacing toxic cobalt as the battery's anode), which degrade and crack over time.
A study reports that fields of porous silicon nano-tubes can be used to move electrons around without losing capacity or degrading. They are less than 100 nano-meters across and just a few microns long.
With silicon sheets no longer an issue, and the breakdown potential eliminated, the researchers were able to achieve the improvements mentioned above.
The team was led by Viterbi School of Engineering professor Chongwu Zhou and believes that it will take as little as three years for the invention to become practically applicable. And since the batteries will supposedly not cost much more to make than normal, there will be no cause to dissuade their promotion.
"It's an exciting research. It opens the door for the design of the next generation lithium-ion batteries," said Chongwu Zhou.