May 20, 2018
Cornell University engineers have designed a revolutionary 3D lithium-ion battery that could be charged in just seconds.
In a conventional battery, the battery’s anode and cathode* (the two sides of a battery connection) are stacked in separate columns (the black and red columns in the left illustration above). For the new design, the engineers instead used thousands of nanoscale (ultra-tiny) anodes and cathodes (shown in the illustration on the right above).
Putting those thousands of anodes and cathodes just 20 nanometers (billionths of a meter) apart allows for extremely fast charging** (in seconds or less) and also allows for holding more power for longer.
In addition, unlike traditional batteries, the electrolyte battery material does not have pinholes (tiny holes), which can lead to short-circuiting the battery, giving rise to fires in mobile devices, such as cellphones and laptops.
The engineers are still perfecting the technique, but they have applied for patent protection on the proof-of-concept work, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and in part by the National Science Foundation.
* How batteries work
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