Charging Portable Electronics in 10 Minutes? Yes, Please!

First Posted: Jun 11, 2014 12:10 PM EDT

Keeping portable electronics charged can be time consuming and down-right annoying in a society that's constantly on the go. Yet researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering may have developed a bit of a solution. With the help of a lithium-ion battery anodes, many of us could be toting our favorite technological devices out the door and fully-charged in as little as 10 minutes.

A new study, published in the journal SMALL, examines how researchers developed these three-dimensional, silicon nanotubes for lithium battery anodes that allow the charging of portable electronics in just a few minutes.

Though lithium ion batteries are the rechargeable choice of batteries for most portable electronic devices and vehicles, they present problems. For one, the size of those used in portable electronics often limits the trend of down-sizing, while the silicon material.

Yet researchers' decision to use silicon material instead of the typical graphite based lithium ion could increase the charge capacity to 10 times higher than the normal rate. In fact, researchers found that replacing the graphite anode with silicon could result in a 63 percent increase of total cell capacity and a battery that is 40 percent lighter and smaller, according to a news release.

Lead study author Wei Wang says the incredibly fast charge and discharge rate can be attributed to two things: the connection between the graphene covered copper foil and carbon nanotubes that enhance the active material-current, which enhances thermal transfer in the electrode system, and the cone-shaped architecture that channels electrolyte access at lightening speed for optimal performance. 

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