The United States’ Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is funding new research that could reduce the dimensions of lithium-ion batteries used in phones, laptops and other electronic devices to the size of a grain of salt. It is hoped that the mini-batteries will be able to power micro- and nano-devices that are been developed for medical research purposes.

According to Medical Daily, one of the researchers involved in the creation of these micro-batteries is Jane Chang, an engineer at the University of California, Los Angeles, who is designing part of the batteries’ components. She is working on the electrolyte that the team hopes will allow a charge to flow between electrodes.

Speaking to the medical website, Chang says, “We’re trying to achieve the same power densities, the same energy densities as traditional lithium ion batteries, but we need to make the footprint much smaller.”

In order to achieve this, the research team is working with engineers at UCLA to maximize the surface-to-volume ratio of micro-pillars and nano-wires. Doing this will increase the batteries’ energy density, allowing current to flow through the battery. The team is harnessing a technique called atomic layer deposition, a process that allows layers of material only an atom thick to be sprayed on a surface. Chang has reportedly already applied a solid electrolyte lithium aluminosilicate to these nanomaterials.

While this research is still in the early stages, it opens up a world of possibility for next-gen nano-devices.


Via Medical Daily

Photo © Argonne National Laboratory