Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

MIT Battery Material Could Lead To Rapid Recharging Of Many Devices

Date:
March 16, 2009
Source:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Summary:
MIT engineers have created a kind of beltway that allows for the rapid transit of electrical energy through a well-known battery material, an advance that could usher in smaller, lighter batteries -- for cell phones and other devices -- that could recharge in seconds rather than hours.

A sample of the new battery material that could allow quick charging of portable devices.
Credit: Donna Coveney/MIT

MIT engineers have created a kind of beltway that allows for the rapid transit of electrical energy through a well-known battery material, an advance that could usher in smaller, lighter batteries — for cell phones and other devices — that could recharge in seconds rather than hours.

Related Articles


The work could also allow for the quick recharging of batteries in electric cars, although that particular application would be limited by the amount of power available to a homeowner through the electric grid.

The work, led by Gerbrand Ceder, the Richard P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, is reported in the March 12 issue of Nature. Because the material involved is not new — the researchers have simply changed the way they make it — Ceder believes the work could make it into the marketplace within two to three years.

State-of-the-art lithium rechargeable batteries have very high energy densities — they are good at storing large amounts of charge. The tradeoff is that they have relatively slow power rates — they are sluggish at gaining and discharging that energy. Consider current batteries for electric cars. "They have a lot of energy, so you can drive at 55 mph for a long time, but the power is low. You can't accelerate quickly," Ceder said.

Why the slow power rates? Traditionally, scientists have thought that the lithium ions responsible, along with electrons, for carrying charge across the battery simply move too slowly through the material.

About five years ago, however, Ceder and colleagues made a surprising discovery. Computer calculations of a well-known battery material, lithium iron phosphate, predicted that the material's lithium ions should actually be moving extremely quickly.

"If transport of the lithium ions was so fast, something else had to be the problem," Ceder said.

Further calculations showed that lithium ions can indeed move very quickly into the material but only through tunnels accessed from the surface. If a lithium ion at the surface is directly in front of a tunnel entrance, there's no problem: it proceeds efficiently into the tunnel. But if the ion isn't directly in front, it is prevented from reaching the tunnel entrance because it cannot move to access that entrance.

Ceder and Byoungwoo Kang, a graduate student in materials science and engineering, devised a way around the problem by creating a new surface structure that does allow the lithium ions to move quickly around the outside of the material, much like a beltway around a city. When an ion traveling along this beltway reaches a tunnel, it is instantly diverted into it. Kang is a coauthor of the Nature paper.

Using their new processing technique, the two went on to make a small battery that could be fully charged or discharged in 10 to 20 seconds (it takes six minutes to fully charge or discharge a cell made from the unprocessed material).

Ceder notes that further tests showed that unlike other battery materials, the new material does not degrade as much when repeatedly charged and recharged. This could lead to smaller, lighter batteries, because less material is needed for the same result.

"The ability to charge and discharge batteries in a matter of seconds rather than hours may open up new technological applications and induce lifestyle changes," Ceder and Kang conclude in their Nature paper.

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation through the Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers program and the Batteries for Advanced Transportation Program of the U.S. Department of Energy. It has been licensed by two companies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Byoungwoo Kang & Gerbrand Ceder. Battery materials for ultrafast charging and discharging. Nature, 2009; 458 (7235): 190 DOI: 10.1038/nature07853

Cite This Page:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "MIT Battery Material Could Lead To Rapid Recharging Of Many Devices." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090311153408.htm>.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2009, March 16). MIT Battery Material Could Lead To Rapid Recharging Of Many Devices. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090311153408.htm
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "MIT Battery Material Could Lead To Rapid Recharging Of Many Devices." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090311153408.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots Get Funky on the Dance Floor

Robots Get Funky on the Dance Floor

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Dancing, spinning and fighting robots are showing off their agility at "Robocomp" in Krakow. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A solar energy project in the Tunisian Sahara aims to generate enough clean energy by 2018 to power two million European homes. Matt Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lowe's Testing Robot Sales Assistants in California Store

Lowe's Testing Robot Sales Assistants in California Store

Buzz60 (Oct. 29, 2014) Lowe’s is testing out what it’s describing as a robotic shopping assistant in one of its Orchard Supply Hardware Stores in California. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins