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24th Apr 2016

Scientists may have created ever-lasting phone and laptop batteries completely by accident

Imagine a battery that never grows old?!

Declan Cashin

It’s the first-world-problem bane of our modern existence: the battery on your relatively new phone, laptop or tablet growing weak and unreliable in no length of time.

But this recurring annoyance could soon *theoretically* be a thing of the past. That’s because scientists at the University of California at Irvine (UCI) have stumbled across a gel-like substance that can preserve the usually-limited re-charge life of a battery.



PhD student Mya Le Thai and her lab colleagues had the breakthrough while researching nanowires – highly conducive materials that are thousands of times thinner than a human hair and which are a key component of batteries.

Just for the hell of it, Le Thai started coating a nanowire in a manganese dioxide gel shell, and…well, let’s turn the explanation over to Reginald Penner, chairman of UCI’s chemistry department. He said:

“She discovered that just by using this gel she could cycle it hundreds of thousands of times without losing any capacity. That was crazy, because these things typically die in dramatic fashion after 5,000 or 6,000 or 7,000 cycles at most.”

The team then went on to test the new type of battery over 200,000 times over a three-month period and no loss of capacity or power was reported.

“This research proves that a nanowire-based battery electrode can have a long lifetime and that we can make these kinds of batteries a reality,” Le Thai explained.

What this means is that it’s now possible for Le Thai’s discovery to be applied to commercial batteries – like those in our favourite devices.


Over to you Apple and Samsung!