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USA: Silicon nanotube lithium-ion battery stores 10 times more power, lasts 6,000 charges

A Stanford team, led by the battery master himself — Yi Cui — has developed a new lithium-ion battery electrode that still works at 85% capacity after 6,000 charge/discharge cycles, compared to current lithium-ion batteries (found in your laptop, iPad, smartphone) that are usually depleted after around 1,000 charges. The new electrode also has the possibility of increasing lithium-ion battery capacity by up to 10 times.

In a lithium-ion battery there is an anode (negative electrode) and cathode (positive) separated by a liquid lithium salt electrolyte, with the capacity (milliamp-hours, mAh) being a direct function of all three materials. Currently, almost every lithium-ion battery uses a graphite (carbon) anode, which has a specific capacity of 400 mAh per gram, which means the anode has to be relatively large to store a decent amount of power. Yi Cui’s team, however, has successfully built a double-walled silicon nanotube anode that has a capacity of around 4,000 mAh per gram. In other words, this anode is an important precursor to lithium-ion batteries with 10 times their current capacity.
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