Lithium batteries are still the best choice for small devices, but they have their limitations. Batteries degrade from the moment we first use them. Like automobile tires, they gradually wear out. Even the best lithium batteries only survive 300 to 500 discharge / recharge cycles. However, there are things happening to solve this. Assistant Prof Yang Yang of the University of Central Florida is promising exciting days ahead for lithium batteries.
The Scope of the Yang Yangs Team’s Research
The assistant prof and his team positioned themselves at the heart of electrochemistry. “We try to convert solar energy either to electricity or chemical fuels. We also try to convert chemical fuels to electricity,” he says. “So, we do different things, but all of them are related to energy,” he explains.
They have two things in their job jar. First, they want to upgrade the lithium batteries in phones and laptops. Then they want to develop a more stable, safer alternative. They plan exciting days ahead for lithium batteries indeed. They have come up with a new cathode that recycles 5,000 times which we find amazing.
What’s Driving Exciting Days Ahead for Lithium Batteries
Electricity generates in batteries as ions flow from negative anodes to positive cathodes through electrolyte. Hence, the more conductive the negative and positive electrodes are, the more efficient the batteries become. Iron sulfide and nickel sulfide provide sterling service. Yang Yang and his team have improved the combination.
First, they created a cathode from a thin film of nickel sulfide-iron sulfide. Then they etched this to “to create a porous surface of microscopic nanostructures. These nano pores, or holey structures greatly expand the surface area available for chemical reaction.”
This sounds simple when we say it quickly. We are enjoying thoughts of exciting days ahead for lithium batteries. Visit this page for a preview of the technology. Wiley Online Library will release the full version for a fee.
Preview Image: Yang Yang Research Team: University of Central Florida