No matter how powerful a phone’s hardware, it’s only a useful tool so long as it stays powered. Being able to hold a charge, especially over a full day of heavy usage, is an issue that plenty of phones struggle with. Efforts to design smartphones using lower-power components is one part of the struggle to keep battery life at an acceptable level. We see this in features like the Tegra 3’s reduced-power “companion core”. On the other end of things, we could tackle the problem just as easily by increasing battery capacity. A group of engineers has designed a new take on the lithium-ion rechargeable battery that could hope to increase its capacity ten-fold, while also speeding-up charge times.
The group’s idea is to augment the traditional carbon anode with one containing layers of silicon. The silicon is more able to transfer charge to lithium ions, dramatically increasing energy density. As for making a battery that also charges faster, it may be as simple as poking that anode full of nano-scale holes, benefiting ion mobility.
There’s no word on if we may hope to see this technology in commercially available batteries anytime soon, but the engineers still have plenty of work left to do. These developments only focused on the battery’s anode; there’s a whole other world of potential improvements to be had once they turn their attention to the cathode.