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Stanford has made a breakthrough discovery for mobile device batteries

Researchers at Stanford University have made progress toward designing a battery with a lithium anode, a development that could increase battery power in electronics. Reporting in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the researchers described how they designed a lithium-metal anode in order to boost the energy storage density. The anode of a battery discharges electrons into the current cycle. In a regular lithium-ion battery, it is usually made of graphite or silicon. Lithium is known for its high energy density and lightweight properties, but it has proven problematic in battery research.

No matter how many breakthroughs we’ve seen in the past, improving battery life remains one of the biggest obstacles that mobile device makers have to deal with. While the time between recharges has grown for laptops, tablets, and smartphones over the years, too many of us have to hang close to an outlet far too frequently. That’s precisely why so much research has gone into boosting the efficiency of batteries, resulting in the type of advance that Stanford scientists are claiming they have now made. The resulting refinement of the lithium-based battery could result in double or triple the battery life of today’s versions. The researchers have published a paper in Nature Nanotechnology that describes their breakthrough. In a typical lithium-ion battery, an anode is used to provide the negative charge necessary to work with the electrolyte, which stores the positively charged ions. The anode is usually made of silicon or graphite, even though using a lithium anode offers the highest potential capacity. That’s because a lithium anode creates metal deposits with each cycle, (negatively) impacting the capacity and posing a safety risk.

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