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Band-Gap Engineering of Nanowires Could Boost Batteries – IEEE Spectrum

The reason for replacing graphite in the electrodes of the ubiquitous lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is clear to anyone who uses a smartphone: The batteries run out of charge in just a few hours under regular use.

One answer has been to replace the graphite with silicon. Unfortunately, the expanding and contracting that occurred as the lithium ions transported in and out of silicon electrodes quickly cracks it.

The next solution was to create “nanostructured silicon” electrodes, sometimes with the help of graphene or good old carbon nanotubes.

Now researchers at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have brought a new perspective to the issue. They are taking a page from band-gap engineering, in which heterostructures are used to create energy barriers between electrons and holes, and applied the concept tocreating barriers to the ions as they enter into an electrode so they diffuse in a very specific way.

More http://m.spectrum.ieee.org/nanoclast/semiconductors/nanotechnology/new-nanostructure-promises-increase-to-energy-density-of-batteries

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