As our smart-devices become capable of doing more, it usually means that battery life takes a back seat, especially as smart-devices keep shrinking. Samsung researchers have developed a new method of constructing lithium-ion batteries that tackles the issue of extending battery life on a nanoscale. The use of silicon in lithium-ion batteries is a widely researched development, but a caveat to using silicon as an active material in Li-On batteries is that its volume drastically changes through charge-discharge cycles. This can lead to weakening the battery’s life cycle energy density.
Their design uses a silicon anode for enhanced electrical capacity; additionally, they added thin layers of graphene on the battery’s surface. The researchers found they could optimize the silicon anode’s performance by anchoring graphene on top of silicon nanoparticles. Now, as the silicon expands it can slide between the adjacent layers of graphene particles, preserving the silicon’s durability.
Graphene’s two-dimensional carbon structure lends itself a wide array of scientific discoveries and has attracted $1.35 billion in research funding from the Graphene Flagship Consortium.
In testing, Samsung researchers found their method created energy densities 1.5 to 1.8 times higher than traditional Li-On batteries. In theory, this means that a device with a 13-hour battery life could go a full 24 hours without a charge, due to these new batteries. It’s still in the research phase, so extend our usage time with external portable batteries in the meantime.