A team of researchers from the University of California Irvine (UCI) have discovered the secret of battery longevity – by complete accident.
Nanowires are really thin wires – they’re thousands of times thinner than a human hair. That is why they are extremely fragile and do not generally last more than 500 recharges cycles. To make it more resistant, University doctoral candidate Mya Le Thai coated gold nanowires with a manganese dioxide shell and the entire package with a “plexiglas-like” electrolyte gel. The results were astonishing.
Thai cycled it 200,000 times over three months, without losing any power or capacity. The nanowires did not seem to show any signs of the usual wear and tear that come with such abuse.
“The coated electrode holds its shape much better, making it a more reliable option,” said Thai. “This research proves that a nanowire-based battery electrode can have a long lifetime and that we can make these kinds of batteries a reality.”.