Scientists are working on a process to nanostructure Lithium-Ion batteries, this means they will be built in very small nanometres sizes.
The benefit of this technology will be longer battery life and shorter recharge times. The batteries should be ready within five years and may be used for electric vehicles as well as consumer electronics.
Conventional batteries produce electrical charge when Li-ions travel from an anode at one end of the battery, to a cathode at the other end. The power that is delivered by the battery, as well as the speed with which the battery is charged, is determined by the speed with which the ions can travel within the material.
By nanostructuring the electrode particles, researchers are reducing the ions' travel by a factor of a thousand.
"A nano-structured battery operates exactly the same as a conventional battery," explained researcher Marnix Wagemaker, an applied scientist at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, "only the electrode materials (anode and cathode) are built up from nano-sized particles, whereas in conventional batteries the particle sizes are in the order of micrometers."
Besides speeding up the charge/discharge time, nanostructuring also enables battery materials to store higher amounts of Li-ions, which leads to an increase in energy density, allowing batteries to lasts longer between charges, the researchers say.