Everyone would like to have more battery life in their mobile devices, particularly smartphones, as those get used everywhere. We also like to have large screens in our smartphones with very high resolution, so those would consume more power. Finally, we wouldn’t like it if our smartphones were as thick as a brick, so companies have yet to figure out how to create such device. While some companies have opted for integrating wireless charging capabilities into smartphones, the technology is not very popular yet, so it kind of defeats the purpose. Other companies have made software optimizations, but those are rarely noticeable. Finally, there are some companies that have built smartphones with a huge battery, but those are very bulky and they get released in very limited quantities.
Hitachi Maxell recently announced the development of a technology that would allow Li-ion batteries to reach higher capacities. The new technology is called “ULSiON”, and it uses a special composite material by coating the silicon with carbon, so it acts like the negative-electrode active material. Current batteries use silicon as the negative-electrode active material, but this causes to expand and contract at the time they get charged or discharged, so by substituting it with fine silicon particles, this process would be reduced to a certain level. The new technology would release twice the energy density, so basically, we could have twice the capacity of a battery without requiring extra space.
This electrode technology would allow batteries to be charged with a wide range of voltages, so they expect discharge cut-off voltage to be very low. This would also create better performance, as the lower discharge cut-off voltage, the more capacity could be reached. The company expects that this technology would make it into compact devices such as wearables, but in general, there’s a high demand for high-energy density batteries. This technology seems to be a compelling solution, as devices could get thinner and have the same battery capacity of current devices or they could get just as thick and provide much more battery life. Hitachi Maxell will exhibit this technology at the 2nd Wearable Expo that takes place from January 13th to January 15th in Tokyo.