Washington: Imagine charging your iPhone or mobile in a few seconds. Well, your imagination may someday turn into a reality, say scientists who claim to be working on "super batteries" which not only recharge in just seconds, but also have an almost indefinite lifespan.A team, led by Dan Li of Monash University, says that a combination of two ordinary materials -- graphite and water -- could help produce such "super batteries" which perform on par with lithium ion batteries.
The scientists are, in fact, working with a material called graphene which may form the basis of the next generation of ultrafast energy storage systems, the `Advanced Materials` journal reported.
"Once we can properly manipulate this material, your iPhone, for example, could charge in a few seconds, or possibly faster," said Li.
Graphene is the result of breaking down graphite, a cheap, readily available material commonly used in pencils, into layers one atom thick. It is strong, chemically stable, an excellent conductor of electricity and, importantly, has an extremely high surface area.
Li said these qualities make graphene highly suitable for energy storage applications.
"The reason graphene isn`t being used everywhere is that these very thin sheets, when stacked into a usable macrostructure, immediately bond together, reforming graphite. When graphene restacks, most of surface area is lost and it doesn`t behave like graphene anymore," he said.
First Published: Monday, July 18, 2011, 12:43