Some very clever people at Stanford University have devised away to modify lithium-ion batteries with silicon nanowires to expand the capacity of the batteries and allow them to deliver electricity for ten times as long as they currently do before recharging.
"It's not a small improvement," Cui said. "It's a revolutionary development."
The breakthrough is described in a paper, "High-performance lithium battery anodes using silicon nanowires," published online Dec. 16 in Nature Nanotechnology, written by Cui, his graduate chemistry student Candace Chan and five others.
The greatly expanded storage capacity could make Li-ion batteries attractive to electric car manufacturers. Cui suggested that they could also be used in homes or offices to store electricity generated by rooftop solar panels.
"Given the mature infrastructure behind silicon, this new technology can be pushed to real life quickly," Cui said.
This is a very big breakthrough in battery technology. It has big implications for things like laptop computers constrained by power considerations, as well as profound implications for storage of electricity that is not generated for immediate use, like solar. It's a great time to be alive, and electrical, isn't it?