A team of researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) developed new ultra long-lasting batteries essentially by accident.
A study published last week in the journal Energy Letters revealed the UCI research behind a new type of battery that could potentially revolutionize how future batteries are made, reported Phys.org.
UCI doctoral candidate Mya Le Thai was reportedly playing around in the lab when she coated a set of gold nanowires in manganese dioxide before applying a “Plexiglas-like” electrolyte gel.
Nanowires, which are microscopic, ultra-thin and highly conductive fibers, normally die out after 8,000 charge cycles due to their fragile nature. However, the nanowires in Thai’s gel-coated battery remained intact after three months of tests.
The researchers suspect that the gel caused the metal oxide in the battery to plasticize, providing its nanowires new-found flexibility and longevity.
“The coated electrode holds its shape much better,” Thai said.
In the tests, the UCI nanobattery was able to endure up to 200,000 charge cycles “with 94–96% average Coulombic efficiency.” The battery was still rated as brand new by the end of the experiment.
To put the new battery’s performance in better perspective, the average laptop battery has an average lifespan of 300 to 500 charge cycles with diminishing capacity at its top efficiency.
With 1,000 cycles every two years, a laptop using UCI’s nanobattery would approximately last for 400 years.
A previous record of 40,000 charge cycles was made by a nanobattery set in a different configuration developed by Stanford researchers in 2007. Applying such technology to commercial use could mean a huge revolution for electronics.