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New Lithium-Ion Battery Tech Could Appear In Next Few Years

New battery technology is five years away, and always will be.

Well, that’s the impression you might get whenever new technology is announced. Some of it is very, very clever indeed, but much of it is only theoretical, and the rest has rarely been tested on suitably large scales.

Silicon nanoparticle battery tech currently under development at the University of Southern California (USC) really could be only a few years away, should everything go to plan.

Most recent battery technology developments have focused on improving the materials used in the anode and cathode.

The easier you can get lithium ions to diffuse in and out of the anodes and cathodes, the faster a battery can be charged. The more ions you can store, the more charge you can store, and the better the materials, the longer the battery will last before performance degrades.

Recent developments in this area include the discovery of lithium accumulation in current batteries, and egg-like nanoparticles for storing more lithium ions.

USC’s new tech, led by professor Chongwu Zhou, replaces traditional graphite anodes with a design using porous silicon nanoparticles.

Silicon is attractive for its low cost and high potential capacity, but previous experiments have seen particles break during charging and discharging. The new particles have been etched with pores, allowing them to stretch, and letting lithium ions to diffuse in and out of the battery more efficiently.

These new designs have lasted 2,000 charge and discharge cycles in testing, but their main benefits are speed and capacity.
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