Scientists at the University of California (UC) claim they have developed a lithium-ion battery that lasts a lifetime.
Study leader Mya Le Thai and her team coated a gold nanowire in a manganese dioxide shell and placed it in a poly methyl methacrylate (PMMA) gel electrolyte.
Thai then cycled the electrode up to 200,000 times over three months and detected no loss of capacity or power, and none of the nanowires became fractured.
Typical lithium batteries usually wear out after around 7,000 cycles.
“The coated electrode holds its shape much better, making it a more reliable option,” said Thai.
“This research proves that a nanowire-based battery electrode can have a long lifetime and that we can make these kinds of batteries a reality.”
According to some reports the finding was in fact an accident, with the scientists ‘playing around’ with the gel.
Chair of UC Irvine’s chemistry department Reginald Penner said researches believed the goo plasticizes the metal oxide in the battery, which gives it flexibility and prevents cracking.
The technology could eventually be used in car and spacecraft batteries, as well as laptops, phones and tablets.
The findings were published under the heading ‘100k Cycles and Beyond: Extraordinary Cycle Stability for MnO2 Nanowires Imparted by a Gel Electrolyte’ in the American Chemical Society’s Energy Letters.