A team of researchers at the University of Illinois has made a new type of battery that could charge an electric car in five minutes, your laptop in a couple of minutes, and juice up your mobile phone in seconds.
The new design takes its lead from both batteries and capacitors. The latter components can charge and release energy very fast, but can’t hold much of it. Batteries, like the lithium-ion one stuffed in your smartphone, can hold a lot but take hours to recharge.
“This does both,” announces Illinois professor Paul Braun, boldly. His findings have been published in the 20 March, 2011, issue of the Nature Nanotechnology journal. “We like that it’s very universal”, explains Braun. “This is not linked to one very specific kind of battery, but rather it’s a new paradigm in thinking about a battery in three dimensions for enhancing properties.”
Other uses include high-powered lasers, military packs and defibrillators that don’t need time to power up before or between pulses.