Nanowire Battery

Tue, 08/09/2016

UCI doctoral candidate Mya Le Thai has developed a nanowire-based technology that allows lithium-ion batteries to be recharged hundreds of thousands of times.

Picture Credit: 
Steve Zylius / UCI
THE LOH DOWN ON SCIENCE

Are you tired of your cell phone not holding a charge anymore?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying:  Scientists are too.  So they're trying to make better batteries using nanowires. 

Nanowires are tiny, about one-thousand times thinner than a human hair.  This means they have a huge amount of surface area for the volume they take up.  The result?  Nanowires are perfect for storing and transferring electricity.

Unfortunately, during the charging and recharging process, the little nanowires become brittle, and crack.  This causes the battery to lose capacity.  In fact, a typical cell-phone battery using nanowires would become useless in less than a year!

Enter doctoral student Mya Le Thai from the University of California, Irvine.  Thai coated gold nanowires in a manganese dioxide shell and encased them in gel.  This gel makes the wires more robust.

Typical nanowire batteries usually fail after five- to six-thousand charge cycles.  Even Thai was amazed when her battery surpassed two-hundred-thousand cycles!  Wow! 

An end to dead batteries?! Now we’ll have no excuse for missing phone calls.  But think of all the Pokemon waiting—!