The smallest nanoscale battery chould get charged in just 12 minutes

As electronic devices continue to get
smaller, one question becomes increasingly pertinent – how will we power them?
Well, smaller batteries would seem to be the most obvious
answer. With that in mind, researchers at the University of Maryland have
succeeded in creating a tiny battery that incorporates even smaller structures,
known as nanopores.Imagine a battery made up of billions of nanoscale batteries
— the ultimate miniaturization of energy storage.
Researchers in the US have invented a
battery that is so small that a billion
 of them could be crammed into a space
the size of a postage stamp.The structure called nanopore was invented by
researchers at the University of Maryland in the US and could result in the
ultimate miniaturization of energy storage components, the researchers said.A
tiny hole in a ceramic sheet holds the electrolyte to carry the electrical
charge between nanotube electrodes at either end.The existing device is a test,
but the bitsy battery performs well. First author Chanyuan Liu, a student in
materials science & engineering, says that it can be fully charged in 12
minutes, and it can be recharged thousands of time, making electric cars more
viable in the future.


A team of University of Maryland
chemists and materials scientists collaborated on the project: Gary Rubloff,
director of the Maryland NanoCenter and a professor in the Department of
Materials Science and Engineering and the Institute for Systems Research; Sang
Bok Lee, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the
Department of Materials Science and Engineering; and seven of their PhD
students.

Many millions of these nanopores can
be crammed into one larger battery the size of a postage stamp. One of the
reasons the researchers think this unit is so successful is because each
nanopore is shaped just like the others, which allows them to pack the tiny
thin batteries together efficiently.Co-author Eleanor Gillette’s modeling shows
that the unique design of the nanopore battery is responsible for its success.
The space inside the holes is so small that the space they take up, all added
together, and would be no more than a grain of sand.

Now that the scientists have the
battery working and have demonstrated the concept, they have also identified
improvements that could make the next version 10 times more powerful. The next
step to commercialization: the inventors have conceived strategies for
manufacturing the battery in large batches. The research was funded by the
Department of Energy.

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