Smartphones might boast more megapixels and faster processors, but when it comes to battery life, they seem to be lacking.
That could all change with an incredible new honeycomb miracle material that promises to make your phone or laptop last up to 100 times longer.
The nano-material curbs the amount of heat given off by a typical battery, meaning it wastes less power and so lasts longer between charges.
An incredible new honeycomb material promises to make your smartphone or laptop last 100 times longer. The material curbs the amount of heat given off by batteries, meaning it consumes far less power and so lasts longer between charges (stock image)
‘Although more works need to be done to develop the end product, the device could mean that a normal 5-hour charge could increase to more than a 500-hour charge,’ said study lead author Dr Deepak Singh, a physicist at the University of Missouri.
To create the new material, scientists layered a magnetic material onto a silicon surface structured like a honeycomb.
This allowed the system to operate with a unidirectional current, or currents that only flow one way.
Voltage and current flow around your device in the same direction to carry power from the battery to your gadget’s various electronic parts or ‘components’.
When voltage is reversed, which can happen accidentally as charge builds up, current also reverses – a process that damages components in the circuit.
Typical batteries have to shut the current off to stop it from going the wrong way and damaging your phone or laptop, releasing a huge amount of energy as heat.
The honeycomb structure (left image) consumes less power because it can only pass current one way (inset image). This means the circuit does not have to shut off when voltage is reversed, as with traditional batteries, conserving power (right image)
This safety feature is part of the reason your device can reach scolding temperatures when it’s doing a lot of work.
The new material’s unidirectional current cannot be reversed, and so any battery built from it will not need this safety mechanism.
As a result the battery consumes far less power, extending its life 100-fold, the researchers said.
HOW DOES THE NEW HONEYCOMB MATERIAL CONSUME LESS POWER?
Most batteries can pass both current and voltage either way around a circuit.
To stop current from passing the wrong way, which can damage other components in the circuit, most batteries have a safety feature that shuts it off when voltage is reversed.
While this preserves the circuit’s components, it uses up a lot of power, which is released as heat when current is stopped.
To get around this, researchers created a magnetic nano-material that is structured like a honeycomb.
This material produces a unidirectional current, meaning it can only go one way.
Batteries made using the new material would not need the traditional shut-down safety feature as any current passing through it cannot reverse.
This preserves power and means the power source can last 100 times longer than a normal silicon battery.
‘A diode normally conducts current and voltage through the device along only one biasing direction, but when the voltage is reversed, the current stops,’ Dr Singh said.
‘This switching process costs significant energy due to dissipation, or the depletion of the power source, thus affecting battery life.
‘By substituting the semiconductor with a magnetic system, we believed we could create an energetically effective device that consumes much less power with enhanced functionalities.’