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BATTERY! What the future holds for battery technology – Mobile Phone | ThinkDigit Features

The technology that powers batteries doesn’t appear to be developing as fast as we’d like them to. As far as smartphones and tablets go, we are still using the same old Lithium-ion batteries.

However, one may also argue that battery capacities are on the rise. But that’s only logical isn’t it? What else is going to drive those high-res, PPI heavy displays, the quad-core processors and those lovely graphics without you having to run to charge your mobile device every other hour? So, higher milli-ampere hour rating on the battery should never be taken to mean that the tech as such is improving. Innovation is happening on the system-on-chip front, with changes in micro-architectures which put less load on the battery life. But with our hunger for high resolution, high pixel-density screens, more graphics-heavy games, there is only so much you can innovate. At some point, optimisation will reach a limit and the only option left will be to improve on existing battery tech.

Sure, we have found a way around this issue, partly. If you have noticed, the market these days is flooded with one accessory which everyone is claiming to be a lifesaver – portable power banks. We agree that these Li-ion portable power chargers are impressive when you really need that extra bit of battery juice in emergency situations. Despite phone and tablets having greater battery capacities and optimised SoCs, there is barely a device which can go two days without needing a supplemental charge. Unless you are one of those rare people who have a smartphone but no Internet access, you can stretch the phone to two full days without a charge. In such cases, it helps if you have a portable charger around. But all said and done, that is still a roundabout way of addressing the issue at hand. With smartphones, it’s a no-brainer, portable power banks can be easily carried around. When it comes to charging tablets, which have a higher battery capacity, the power banks get relatively heavier. Moreover, these are just solutions for mobile devices – a fraction of the possible devices using batteries. What about cameras? What about electric vehicles? Battery technology innovation needs to happen from the ground up. We came across three solutions that may just help.

3D microbatteries

Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a microbattery arraywhich employs 3D electrodes. The claim is that these batteries are much powerful than even the best supercapacitor and are capable of charging 1000 times faster than current batteries. The 3D electrodes have small intertwined fingers that reach into each other thereby increasing the surface area and bringing the anode and cathode closer, so that the ions and electrons do not have to travel far. The principle is the same; electrons moving from the anode to the cathode when the battery is under use and charged ions moving via the electrolyte. The researchers have found a way to integrate the anode and cathode at a microscale. The transfer of electrons in the 3D microbattery array is happening at a micro-scale level, and the distance between cathode and anode is less, the energy generated is quite high. As the electrodes are closer, even recharging is speedy. The best part is that the researchers claim that their technology is scalable. So you can have microbatteries powering your cellphones as well as your electric car. Also the size of the batteries will be much smaller. The only concern at the moment is with the issue of robustness – any short circuit within the microbattery can be hazardous. This sentiment is echoed by the head of the research group Professor King, who states that the current microbatteries use a combustible electrolyte. The aim is to move to non-combustible polymer electrolytes. According to Prof. King, the trials of his microbattery as a power source in electronic devices should begin by the end of year.
More http://www.thinkdigit.com/Mobiles-PDAs/BATTERY-What-the-future-holds-for-battery_16923.html

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