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Next-gen battery tech can charge a smartphone in seconds

Published Apr 17th, 2013 1:40PM EDT
Next-gen battery can charge a smartphone within seconds

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Mobile devices have come a long way in a short period of time. It seems as if smartphones and tablets are capable of just about anything, however battery restrictions are holding these powerful devices back. The rate of innovation has not be been the same in the battery field and users are forced to bring chargers with them wherever they go. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are looking to change that with a new lithium-ion battery that is 2,000 times more powerful than comparable  technologies.

“This is a whole new way to think about batteries,” Lead researcher William P. King said. “A battery can deliver far more power than anybody ever thought. In recent decades, electronics have gotten small. The thinking parts of computers have gotten small. And the battery has lagged far behind. This is a microtechnology that could change all of that. Now the power source is as high-performance as the rest of it.”

The new technology is said to deliver unmatched power while also being highly efficient.

“There’s a sacrifice,” said graduate student and first author of the paper James Pikul. “If you want high energy you can’t get high power; if you want high power it’s very difficult to get high energy. But for very interesting applications, especially modern applications, you really need both. That’s what our batteries are starting to do. We’re really pushing into an area in the energy storage design space that is not currently available with technologies today.”

One might think that such a powerful battery would requie ample time to recharge the device, however this isn’t the case. The batteries are capable of charging 1,000 times faster than competing technologies, thanks in part to the fact that they are 30 times smaller.

“Imagine juicing up a credit-card-thin phone in less than a second,” the university’s press release reads.

“Any kind of electronic device is limited by the size of the battery – until now,” King added. “Consider personal medical devices and implants, where the battery is an enormous brick, and it’s connected to itty-bitty electronics and tiny wires. Now the battery is also tiny.”

Dan joins the BGR team as the Android Editor, covering all things relating to Google’s premiere operating system. His work has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business and Yahoo News, among other publications. When he isn’t testing the latest devices or apps, he can be found enjoying the sights and sounds of New York City.