People use their GPS apps, cameras, and mobile internet to navigate strange cities in search of good coffee, record "selfie" commentary while they wait in line, and upload their videos directly to social media sites while they sip their latte. But no amount of high-tech savvy can save a well-loved device from dying when its battery is drained.
Smartphones suffer from the same basic ailment that plagues solar power plants and wind farms they lack cheap, reliable, long-life batteries to store large amounts of energy for when the sun goes down, the wind stops blowing, or the device is unplugged for a long time.
"I think almost any application in technology you can think of is currently limited by the battery," said Amy Prieto, a chemist at Colorado State University who leads a start-up company with the goal of developing a better energy storage device. The group is nearing the prototype phase for a lithium ion battery that should be safer, cheaper, faster-charging, and more environmentally friendly than conventional batteries now on the market. She will present her latest results at the upcoming AVS 60th International Symposium and Exhibition, held Oct. 27 Nov. 1 in Long Beach, Calif.
Batteries today have a number of unsolved problems, including high cost, heat output, limited lifespans, and the toxic or corrosive materials used in their manufacture. But two main issues limit the functionality of modern batteries, Prieto said: low energy density and low power density.
Low energy density means that a conventional smartphone battery can't hold enough energy in a small enough volume to power the phone for much longer than one or two days, while low power density means the battery will take hours to recharge, instead of minutes.
Prieto's group has tackled many of these challenges by making of list of desired properties for each of the main battery components. The team then developed one component at a time starting wi
|Contact: Catherine Meyers|
American Institute of Physics