Scientists and researchers have been developing nano technologies at tremendous rates in the last few years, thanks largely in part to the unquenchable thirst of the smart phone industry and the growing number of new technologies requiring nano technologies, such as solar power batteries and electric vehicles.
Despite magical pocket computer machines and sun powered homes, one problematic issue with these technologies is the lifespan of the modern battery. Landfills are overflowing with unwanted batteries, taking thousands (upon thousands) of years to decompose.
So, It should come as no surprise that there has been a race for nanowire scientists and researchers to develop a technology that can significantly improve lithium-ion batteries lifespan. By pure chance, researchers believe they have stumbled upon the technology that could increase the lifespan of batteries ten fold. They even go so far as to claim that the batteries could last forever.
Enter the new and improved nanowire; the break through technology scientists have been working so hard at to achieve.
New nanowire electrode technology doesn't boast a larger battery life, moreover, it's all about that longer lifespan. With a longer lifespan your average smart phone will be able to function at the same capacity as it did the day you took it out of the box, rather than two years down the track when your phone barely lasts a day after a full night's charge.
The new nano technology has been achieved with having gold nanowire coated with a manganese dioxide shell, it is then encased with an electrolyte type of gelling agent.
Scientists, and researchers, suggest it is the plasticising of the gel with the metal oxide found within the battery that allows the right amount of time to prevent cracking through the charging cycles, which is where present day batteries so often falter.
Over a three-month period, the electrodes were put to the test, with over 200,000 cycles the nanowires still maintained their integrity and performed exactly as they did from the first cycle. Research leader, and UCI doctoral candidate Mya Le Thai, believes that the technology is far superior to present day batteries, commenting "The coated electrode holds its shape much better, making it a more reliable option". With the reality that batteries could possibly withstand such long lifespans, we can only hope that new technologies can last far longer than previously imagined.
Of course, solar storage batteries also look to benefit from the recently developed technology. At present, solar batteries have a life span of 10 years. Having to replace batteries after a 10-year period frustrates some users, and even turns some people off the idea of solar storage. The new and improved nano-wire batteries could greatly improve the longevity of solar storage batteries, and push the solar powered home movement to a level never seen in New Zealand before.
The exciting new technology could help put the brakes on our out of control smart phone consumption, make a real push for independent solar power production, all the while (fingers crossed) alleviating some of the mounting pressure on poor old mother earth. It should be an interesting few nano years ahead.
It is yet to be seen if the new technology can be rolled out to a mass scale as many predict, or if the scientists are even prepared to part with their patents, but as we all know too well, we'll all be updated at some stage.