Lithium ion batteries deteriorate gradually as they are loaded and unloaded. Now researchers at the University of California, USA, have developed a new battery using nanowires that can survive hundreds of thousands of charge cycles.
Over time, the lithium becomes irreversibly attached to the electrodes in lithium ion batteries. This is called dendrites, and is what makes the batteries degrade and stop working over time, as they now have difficulty in achieving store charge within the cells.
Scientists have wondered for some time if nanowires can help to increase the capacity of the batteries, mainly because of its large surface area in a small volume, which could allow you to save larger amounts load when used as electrodes. But as they are too thin, they were particularly susceptible to damage caused by lithium dendrites.
Now, however, researchers at the University of California created nanowires electrodes using a thin gold core surrounded by manganese dioxide layer and a gel electrolyte. In three months of testing, the team realized that could load and unload a single cell made with the wires over 200,000 times without any damage or loss of capacity. To give a little context, modern cell lithium ion stop working after a few thousand cycles. The results were published in ACS Energy Letters .
The technology is currently only ready in the form of laboratory experiments. But researchers hope the technology will help create a new line of rechargeable batteries that never need to be replaced.