New 3-D nanostructure makes batteries charge quickly and retain capacity

March 21st, 2011 - 6:01 pm ICT by ANI  

London, March 21 (ANI): Aside from quick-charge consumer electronics, batteries that can store a lot of energy, release it fast and recharge quickly are desirable for electric vehicles, medical devices, lasers and military applications.

Now, Illinois professor Paul Braun and his team have developed a three-dimensional nanostructure for battery cathodes that allows for dramatically faster charging and discharging without sacrificing energy storage capacity.

‘This system that we have gives you capacitor-like power with battery-like energy,” said Braun, a professor of materials science and engineering at Illinois.

“Most capacitors store very little energy. They can release it very fast, but they can’t hold much. Most batteries store a reasonably large amount of energy, but they can’t provide or receive energy rapidly. This does both,’ he added.

The performance of typical lithium-ion (Li-ion) or nickel metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries degrades significantly when they are rapidly charged or discharged.

Making the active material in the battery a thin film allows for very fast charging and discharging, but reduces the capacity to nearly zero because the active material lacks volume to store energy.

Braun’s group wraps a thin film into three-dimensional structure, achieving both high active volume (high capacity) and large current. They have demonstrated battery electrodes that can charge or discharge in a few seconds, 10 to 100 times faster than equivalent bulk electrodes, yet can perform normally in existing devices.

The findings have been detailed in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Nanotechnology.(ANI)

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