A new battery electrode design from a highly conductive, two-dimensional material called MXene could pave the way for fully charging your smartphone in just a few seconds, a new study says.
The design, described in the journal Nature Energy, could make energy storage devices like batteries, viewed as the plodding tanker truck of energy storage technology, just as fast as the speedy supercapacitors that are used to provide energy in a pinch - often as a battery back-up or to provide quick bursts of energy for things like camera flashes.
"This paper refutes the widely accepted dogma that chemical charge storage, used in batteries and pseudocapacitors, is always much slower than physical storage used in electrical double-layer capacitors, also known as supercapacitors," said lead researcher Yury Gogotsi, Professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US.
"We demonstrate charging of thin MXene electrodes in tens of milliseconds. This is enabled by very high electronic conductivity of MXene. This paves the way to development of ultrafast energy storage devices than can be charged and discharged within seconds, but store much more energy than conventional supercapacitors," Gogotsi added.
The key to faster charging energy storage devices is in the electrode design.
Electrodes are essential components of batteries, through which energy is stored during charging and from which it is disbursed to power our devices.
So the ideal design for these components would be one that allows them to be quickly charged and store more energy.
The overarching benefit of using MXene as the material for the electrode design is its conductivity.
"If we start using low-dimensional and electronically conducting materials as battery electrodes, we can make batteries working much, much faster than today," Gogotsi said.
"Eventually, appreciation of this fact will lead us to car, laptop and cell-phone batteries capable of charging at much higher rates -- seconds or minutes rather than hours," Gogotsi added.