Samsung's Next-Gen Tech Could Double Mobile Battery Life
Your next Samsung smartphone could have double the battery life of your current phone, thanks to new findings published by researchers from the company. In a paper published last week by the journal Nature Communications, the team from Samsung detailed how it was able to develop a new type of technology that could significantly increase battery life in future devices.
The team from Samsung’s Advanced Institute of Technology discovered a new way to coat a silicon surface with high-crystalline graphene, a breakthrough that could produce batteries with up to double the capacity of current lithium-ion technology.
A New Prototype for Future Batteries
The development could have a major impact on digital devices as well as electric vehicles in the future. In the laboratory, the team was able to produce a battery capable of storing 1.5 to 1.8 times more energy than current lithium-ion batteries. The research is still in its preliminary stages and is unlikely to reach commercial products anytime soon. Nonetheless, the new design may serve as a prototype for a new class of silicone anodes.
Researchers have been investigating the use of silicon in next-generation batteries for some time, due to the high amount of electricity it can store relative to its mass. In fact, some electronic devices already use silicon anodes in their batteries.
But creating commercially viable products has been limited so far because silicon's ability to hold a charge suffers from significant degradation over the course of a lifetime’s worth of charge-discharge cycles. That can cause silicon-based batteries to have much shorter lifespans than traditional lithium-ion batteries.
Longer Lasting, Better Charge
The problem is that silicon anodes expand in volume as they are charged, and shrink back down as they discharge, a difference in size of up to 400 percent. That means there has to be enough space available in the battery to allow the anode to expand. And all that expansion and contraction causes the anode to degrade over time, which is why silicon anodes have relatively short lifespans.
The Samsung team referred to the challenge as a major bottleneck in implementing silicon anodes in commercial battery cells. “To meet this critical demand, silicon anode technology needs to be revisited with different electrode designs that offer stable cycling performance while the electrode volume is minimized,” the scientists said in their paper.
The researchers said they managed to address the problem by causing layers of graphene to grow on the surface of silicon nanoparticles. The graphene coating helps keep the silicon from expanding. That allows manufacturers to pack more silicon into smaller spaces, enabling their batteries to perform better as they cycle between charging and discharging, while also providing significantly better energy density by volume. The new process could result in batteries that are able to hold more charge than the current generation of batteries, even after their 200th cycle.