Graphite to Create Long-Lasting Batteries of the Future

January 26, 2016 - Written By Daniel Fuller

If you talk to just about anybody who owns an Android smartphone, one of their main complaints is bound to be the battery life. Compared to the dumbphones of old, Android devices just can’t compete in that area for one simple reason; they’re practically computers. Android phones with gigantic batteries have been brought to the table, as well as phones with smaller batteries, but tons of software optimization to bring out the best in them. So far, nothing has really satisfied users looking for more battery life from the devices they love. Battery research had hit a wall until recently, but an article from science journal, Nature indicates that development is back in full swing thanks to a breakthrough discovery.

Experts have agreed for a while now that lithium-oxygen batteries can beat out current lithium-ion tech, but there were some issues. These battery packs were difficult to make and highly unstable due to solid lithium superoxide being thermodynamically unstable, meaning that it was highly unstable and volatile during synthesis and, if a prototype was successfully made, it tended to overheat easily. A new discovery took place, however, regarding graphite; when graphite is used as a cathode and iridium nanocrystals are placed on it, it results in a far more stable lithium superoxide sample. This means that, should a method be found to reliably create this stable compound, we could be looking at a brand new type of battery tech powering the devices of tomorrow. Closed lithium-air batteries may also become possible, which would be safer and have a higher capacity than current solutions that require oxygen intake.

This discovery could open up a brand new world of battery research, which could in turn lead to new possibilities in regards to mobile devices, especially in the design department. Folding smartphones, razor-thin phones with good battery life and normal size phones with all-week battery life and then some are just the tip of the iceberg. The implications for VR and, of course, the non-mobile world are there as well, but smartphones and IoT seem to be the areas poised to reap the biggest benefit from new battery tech.