Samsung’s research team has found a way to effectively almost double the capacity of its lithium ion batteries, according to a report from Business Korea. Specifically, the research arm of the company has supposedly developed a technology to make a new “silicon cathode material” for coating the graphene of the battery’s silicon surface, which allows it to support new levels of energy density — up to twice that of currently-available batteries.
You can read the details of the technology at Nature.com:
The graphene layers anchored onto the silicon surface accommodate the volume expansion of silicon via a sliding process between adjacent graphene layers. When paired with a commercial lithium cobalt oxide cathode, the silicon carbide-free graphene coating allows the full cell to reach volumetric energy densities of 972 and 700 Wh l−1 at first and 200th cycle, respectively, 1.8 and 1.5 times higher than those of current commercial lithium-ion batteries.
Sadly for most of us, improvements in lithium-ion battery density have long simply been a means for creating smaller batteries, rather than actually creating longer-lasting batteries. As devices become thinner and sleeker — with Apple very much leading the charge every year — batteries need to be smaller as well, but provide at least a standard day’s use. So while this will mean we’ll be seeing slimmer devices and just slightly better battery life, you probably shouldn’t expect this tech to immediately phones that double the average battery life.
Battery has been one area that many have been waiting for significant improvement in recent years. Many have argued that thinness shouldn’t come at the cost of decent battery life. Meanwhile, other smartphone components have seen drastic improvements in recent years. The LG G4 sports a drastically improved camera over its previous iteration, screen technology has improved rapidly to boast higher resolution and better color accuracy, and the processors and memory within our phones match those of the desktop computers of less than ten years ago.
It’s definitely time for a breakthrough in battery technology — lithium-ion has been widely used since the early 90s. But if we can’t have some kind of futuristic new kind of battery tech, I guess improvements to the tried-and-true will have to do for now.