Honeycomb Battery Tech Breakthrough Could Bring 100X Improvement In Device Runtime

A group of researchers at the University of Missouri have developed a new battery breakthrough that could have a big impact on runtimes for the gadgets. The researchers have developed new material that can address the two chief complaints of batteries used in electronic devices now: relatively runtimes life and unwanted heat production. The team has applied for a patent for a magnetic material that has a unique honeycomb lattice structure that offers distinct electronical properties.

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“Semiconductor diodes and amplifiers, which often are made of silicon or germanium, are key elements in modern electronic devices,” said Deepak K. Singh, head researcher on the project, who also serves as the principal investigator of the Magnetism and Superconductivity Research Laboratory at MU. “A diode normally conducts current and voltage through the device along only one biasing direction, but when the voltage is reversed, the current stops. This switching process costs significant energy due to dissipation, or the depletion of the power source, thus affecting battery life. By substituting the semiconductor with a magnetic system, we believed we could create an energetically effective device that consumes much less power with enhanced functionalities.”

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The team developed a two-dimensional nanostructure material that is created by depositing a magnetic alloy or pemalloy on a honeycomb structured template of a silicon surface. The material can conduct a current that flows only one way, and has significantly less dissipative power compared to a semiconducting diode normally found in electronic devices. The magnetic diode is a precursor for new magnetic transistors and amplifiers that dissipate little power allowing for increased efficiency in the power source.

The researchers say that the breakthrough could mean a battery with a life 100 times that of existing batteries. The material could also find use in computer hardware where less dissipative power would mean reduced heat generated by the CPU; reduced heat could mean faster operating speeds. “Although more works need to be done to develop the end product, the device could mean that a normal 5-hour charge could increase to more than a 500-hour charge,” Singh said. “The device could also act as an ‘on/off switch’ for other periphery components such as closed-circuit cameras or radio frequency attenuators, which reduces power flowing through a device. We have applied for a U.S. patent and have begun the process of incorporating a spin-off company to help us take the device to market.”


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