Battery That Lasts 400 Times Longer Discovered By Accident

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Researchers at UC Irvine may have found a way to design a battery so it doesn’t lose its charge after years of use. The researchers discovered that by using a gold nanowire in electrolyte gel rather than lithium, the battery could withstand 200,000 charging cycles and only lose five percent of its capacity. Now imagine what it will do for your smartphones!

Researchers aren’t quite sure how this new design yielded such amazing results. “We started to cycle the devices, and then realized that they weren’t going to die,” Reginald Penner, a lead author of a paper on the research published in the American Chemical Society’s Energy Letters, told IBTimes. “We don’t understand the mechanism of that yet.”

Researchers have been looking for an alternative to the lithium battery. It’s been long-theorized that nanowire might help increase longevity, as their high surface area can hold an electric charge. However, a nanowire submersed in lithium corrodes after only a few thousand cycles.

The researchers at UC Irvine went a different route, coating the gold nanowire in a protective manganese dioxide sheath and substituting the liquid lithium for a more dense electrolyte gel. “Mya [Le Thai] was playing around, and she coated this whole thing with a very thin gel layer and started to cycle it,” Penner said in a statement. “She discovered that just by using this gel, she could cycle it hundreds of thousands of times without losing any capacity.”

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