The average consumer of electronic devices wishes for a longer lasting, rechargeable battery that gives them more charges. Nanotechnology that is already being used in most conventional batteries and new research could give birth to a tiny generation of rechargeable batteries that hold more energy than ever before.
Recent research funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is aimed at creating the tiniest batteries people have ever seen. The biggest one would be no bigger than a grain of sand!
These tiny batteries could one day be used to power common portable electronic devices and could even be used to power nanoscale devices.
Researcher Jane Chang who is working on the DARPA funded project is an engineer at the University of California, Los Angeles. She and her colleagues are designing one component of these batteries, the electrolyte that allows charge to flow between electrodes. She recently presented their results at the AVS 57th International Symposium & Exhibition, which took place last week at the Albuquerque Convention Center in New Mexico.
To achieve their goals UCLA researchers had to think in three dimensions instead of two. This type of thinking was needed to increase energy potential in the battery while being able to shrink its size.
UCLA is utilizing an awesome sounding science term know as atomic layer deposition. Atomic layer deposition is a slow but incredibly precise process that empowers engineers to spray layers of material only an atom thick on a surface. Chang and her teammates Ya-Chuan Perng, Jea Cho, Daniel Membreno, and Bruce Dunn have successfully applied the solid electrolyte lithium aluminosilicate to these nanomaterials.
The research is still in its embryonic stages: other components of these 3D microbatteries, such as the electrodes, have also been evolved, but they have not been assembled and amalgamated to make a functioning battery.
The mega battery is a product that many technology consumers have been craving for decades. While this cutting edge battery has yet to be assembled, one would have to imagine that the scientists working on the project are itching to put one together.
The dreamy concept of a fortnight laptop battery could become reality. Someday soon someone might put one together.
Check out the abstract for the UCLA research for the development of these batteries. It's interesting and it's full of lots of big, meaningful words.