Lithium-air batteries could power next-generation Smartphones

    Photo source: Digital Trends
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    As electronics devices like smartphones have evolved over the years, hardware components such as display, processor, and camera have significantly improved in performance and efficiency. One area where not enough development has been taken place is the battery. Now, researchers have engineered a next-generation battery technology, known as lithium-air batteries that could last five times longer than today’s commercial lithium ion batteries.

    Next-generation lithium-air batteries have the ability to store ten times as much energy as lithium-ion cells. This is possible since lithium-air batteries breathe oxygen from the air with new soluble electrolyte catalyst materials (dimethylphenazine) to power the chemical reactions that release electricity, rather than storing an oxidizer internally like lithium-ion batteries do. The high energy density of the Lithium-air batteries can allow an electric car to drive over 600kms on a single charge and a smartphone to last a week without recharging.

    The Lithium-air batteries are also flexible, allowing it to be used to power wearables and flexible displays in the future. However, this technology could take five to tens years before it can be used commercially in consumer devices and electric vehicles. Having said that, it’s a major step in the development of efficiency in batteries.

    D.r Kyeongjae Cho, a professor and researcher at UT Dallas said, “There’s huge promise in lithium-air batteries. However, despite the aggressive research being done by groups all over the world, those promises are not being delivered in real life. Automobile and mobile device batteries are facing serious challenges because they need higher capacity. This is a major step. Hopefully it will revitalize the interest in lithium-air battery research, creating momentum that can make this practical, rather than just an academic research study.