In the age of the smartphone, a world of information and connection is right at our fingertips. That is, until our batteries run out of juice. Sony just announced plans for a laminate smartphone battery that could increase battery life by 40 percent. The technology is promising and could completely change the word of smartphones, but we may have to wait until 2020 to get our hands on it.
Sony pioneered the commercialization of lithium-ion, or Li-ion, batteries, yet is now aiming to find a replacement for them which will better serve the needs of smartphone users. They hope to roll out lithium sulfur (Li-S) and magnesium-sulfur (Mg-S) batteries within the next five years. Approaching the difficulties of working with sulfur, which can degrade quickly, is something Sony is taking seriously. For the Li-S battery a sulfur compound will be used for the positive electrode and metal lithium for the negative electrode.
The Mg-S battery will be an interesting development, as it does not use potentially hazardous lithium compounds at all. It turns out that metal lithium can create branch-like deposits, called dendrites, which can heat up to the point of ignition. Further research is hopeful to find a way to address this safety concern. After Sony commercializes their next-generation batteries for smartphones they will look at other electronic devices’ batteries.