Whenever it comes of electrical appliance which use batteries, the number one complaint is “Poor Battery Life”. But now a new technology promises a battery that could last a lifetime. Scientists from the University of California, have developed a nanowire-based battery that can be recharged hundreds of thousands of times, a vital leap towards a battery that doesn’t need replacing. Nanowires hold numerous ideal characteristics for electric storage and transmission. They are extremely conductive and thousands of times thinner than a human hair, which ultimately means they can be organized to offer a large surface area for electron transfer.
Unluckily, nanowires are typically very delicate and don’t do well after frequent charging and discharging. The scientists, whose results are issued in the American Chemical Society’s Energy Letters, have layered gold nanowires in manganese dioxide and insulated them in a Plexiglas-like gel. This mixture keeps all the properties of the nanowires' unharmed and makes them resistant to cracks. Mya Le Thai, the main study author, has charged and discharged the battery up to almost 200,000 times not only without cracking the nanowires but also without any loss of capacity. Senior author Reginald Penner, chair of UCI’s chemistry department, said:
“Mya was playing around, and she coated this whole thing with a very thin gel layer and started to cycle it. She discovered that just by using this gel, she could cycle it hundreds of thousands of times without losing any capacity. That was crazy, because these things typically die in dramatic fashion after 5,000 or 6,000 or 7,000 cycles at most.”
The scientists consider that the arrangement of the PMMA (plexiglass-like) gel electrolyte and the magnesium oxide provides flexibility and structure to the nanowires, avoiding cracking and thus spreading their functioning life.