With high conductivity and a large surface area, nanowires have become quite the candidate for an advanced battery material. But at thousands of times thinner than a human hair, their delicate nature often causes them to fracture throughout the battery cycle. By designing a nanowire-based electrode with a special protective coating, researchers now claim to have overcome this limitation, which could lead to batteries able to withstand hundreds of thousands of recharge cycles.
Recently, scientists have made some promising strides when it comes to enhancing the properties of nanowires for the purpose of building better batteries. In 2012, Stanford researchers tweaked the recipe a little to give nanowires a greater surface area, as did researchers at MIT in 2013. Also in 2013, scientists had some success using silicon nanowires to build a lithium-ion battery that held three times the energy of a conventional version, thought it could only withstand around 200 recharge cycles.
With their new nanowire-based electrode, researchers at University of California, Irvine aren’t yet claiming increased battery capacity, but a material with a much greater lifespan. Early testing of the component has shown that it can withstand hundreds of thousands of cycles, compared to current versions which they say usually die after around 7,000 cycles at most.
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