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New micro-batteries can jump-start a car

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 19:48

Washington: Small in size, big on power! Researchers claim to have developed the world's most powerful batteries that can jump-start a dead car and recharge your phone in the blink of an eye.

The micro-batteries are only a few millimetres in size, yet they pack such a punch that a driver could use a cellphone powered by these batteries to recharge a dead car battery.

Developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the new micro-batteries out-power even the best super capacitors and could drive new applications in radio communications and compact electronics.

"This is a whole new way to think about batteries. A battery can deliver far more power than anybody ever thought," William P King, the Bliss Professor of mechanical science and engineering, said.

"In recent decades, electronics have gotten small. The thinking parts of computers have gotten small. And the battery has lagged far behind. This is a microtechnology that could change all of that. Now the power source is as high-performance as the rest of it," he said in the study published the journal Nature Communications.

With currently available power sources, users have had to choose between power and energy. For applications that need a lot of power, like broadcasting a radio signal over a long distance, capacitors can release energy very quickly but can only store a small amount.

The new micro-batteries offer both power and energy, and by tweaking the structure a bit, the researchers can tune them over a wide range on the power-versus-energy scale.

The batteries owe their high performance to their internal three-dimensional micro-structure.
Building on a novel fast-charging cathode design by materials science and engineering professor Paul Braun's group, researchers developed a matching anode and then developed a new way to integrate the two components at the microscale to make a complete battery with superior performance.

With so much power, the batteries could enable sensors or radio signals that broadcast 30 times farther, or devices 30 times smaller.

The batteries are rechargeable and can charge 1,000 times faster than competing technologies.

In addition to consumer electronics, medical devices, lasers, sensors and other applications could see leaps forward in technology with such power sources available.


First Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 19:48
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