Self-Healing Electrodes Extend Battery Lifespan

New research could usher in much more efficient lithium ion batteries

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Brendan McDermid / Reuters

People charge their mobile devices at a Street Charge station in the Brooklyn Borough of New York June 18, 2013.

Smartphone batteries draining away halfway through the day has had us all longing for those 2G years when recharging was a twice weekly task. But researchers at Stanford University have created the first ever “self-healing” battery electrodes, giving hope to anyone who has ever run out of juice at critical times.

According to e! Science News,  the high-performing but fragile silicon normally used as electrode material can be covered in elastic polymer, which automatically mends fissures that appear during battery operation and degrade battery life.

“We found that silicon electrodes lasted 10 times longer when coated with the self-healing polymer, which repaired any cracks within just a few hours,” Professor Zhenan Bao said.

Looks like smartphone users of the near future will be able to enjoy marathon sessions of app use — only without the same level of battery depletion that presently results.

[e! Science News]