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High-tech battery could TRIPLE phone life

HTC One E8

New high-tech nanospheres could give struggling gadgets a big battery boost, with higher-capacity and cheaper batteries possible

Battery boffins have claimed victory in their battle to feed our juice-hungry gadgets, announcing they’ve found the “Holy Grail” of tech. The discovery could see phone batteries last three times longer than current models, doing away with the dreaded low battery warnings.

Scientists working on new battery technology claim that they’ve found a way to replace today’s anode materials with lithium, giving them a huge energy boost. Today’s lithium ion batteries use anodes made of graphite and silicon with a lithium electrolyte, but by using lithium everywhere the amount of energy in a battery can increase dramatically. And that means you can use your iPhone, iPad or Android for longer without having to hunt for a plug socket.

In the past the physical makeup of lithium has prevented it from being used in batteries in this way. Lithium leaves dangerous mossy metal deposits, something that also limits efficiency, but scientists have finally worked out how to prevent their growth.

Researchers coated the lithium anode in a ‘honeycomb’ layer of nanospheres. This layer, which is thousands of times thinner than a human hair, protects the anode and keeps the battery working.

“Of all the materials that one might use in an anode, lithium has the greatest potential. Some call it the Holy Grail,” said Yi Cui, a professor of material science and engineering and leader of the research team. “It is very lightweight and it has the highest energy density. You get more power per volume and weight, leading to lighter, smaller batteries with more power.”

Giving examples of how the new battery technology could be used the team said it could increase battery life and bring down costs. Phone battery life could be doubled or tripled and electric cars with a range of 300 miles could cost just $25,000 (£14,700).

There’s still a lot of work to do before the new battery technology can be used in consumer devices to eradicate battery woes, but major technology companies will be watching developments keenly.

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