An Indian origin researcher working in the field of nanowire devices, Pulickel M Ajayan, has managed to pack lithium ion batteries into one nanowire — an achievement that can help mobile phone manufacturer to make smaller batteries, thus reducing the size of handsets.
The lithium ion batteries are used to power mobiles and smartphones. These batteries have the potential to power nanoscale (very small) electronics as well.
“The idea here is to fabricate nanowire energy storage devices with ultrathin separation between the electrodes,” said Arava Leela Mohana Reddy, a research scientist at Rice University (USA) and the co-author of the study.
“This affects the electrochemical behaviour of the device. Our devices could be a very useful tool to probe nanoscale phenomenon,” added Leela.
Some time ago, a similar battery had come out of the Rice University but then the cathode had to be connected from outside which was not practical for smartphones. This time, the drawback has been addressed and the cathode has been tucked inside the battery.
The material, polyaniline (PANI), has been chosen for making the cathode. The battery itself is so thin, when looked at from the side, it is almost invisible.
“There’s a lot to be done to optimise the device in terms of performance,” said the paper’s lead author, Sanketh Gowda, a chemical engineering graduate student at Rice. “Optimisation of the polymer separator and its thickness and an exploration of different electrode systems could lead to improvements.”
Researchers still have a problem to solve in the battery, they need to increase its ability to charge and discharge repeatedly. The current version of the battery built by them gradually loses its ability to charge after about 20 cycles.