My Thoughts on Cool News: Silicon Nanotubes Boost Battery Capacity

If you’ve ever owned anything that needs a battery, you’ve probably had an issue with how long it will last. It always seems to die at the most inopportune time, and that’s partly due to how short the life of most batteries are. Laptops last mere hours, cell phones last a few days, on standby, but wouldn’t it be better if they could last days and weeks?

New technology is slowly getting us there, and recently researchers from Stanford University and Hanyang University in collaboration with LG Chem have made a breakthrough that will allow batteries to contain ten times the charge of current batteries.

Silicon Nanotubes could allow this increase in battery storage to happen. What does this mean for the future? Laptops that last from the moment you wake up to the time you hit the sack for the night, cell phones that last a month between recharges and electric vehicles with similar range as gasoline vehicles.

The main limitation of most high capacity battery technologies seems to be its ability to deal with the constant charge and discharge cycles over a long period of time. Batteries degrade in performance, especially those made from certain materials.

I’ve always thought that better battery technology is key to the future of technology and its integration into society. As more devices like the iPod Touch and the iPhone reach eagerly awaiting consumers, we are quickly finding ourselves needing batteries to keep up with our desires. No one wants to have a device that can’t last all day, especially one that they depend on for notes, information, news, and communication.

As technology continues to advance, we are constantly held back by battery technology as it limits the form factor, size and length of time we can use modern devices. Cameras that miss capturing our children during an important event, cell phones that leave us stranded on the side of the road, cars that have to recharge overnight before getting us to our destination. These are inconveniences that will hopefully be reduced in the next ten to twenty years.

If you want to read more on Silicon Nanotubes, check out an article on Treehugger.

If you have a story on how a battery failed you, please let us know in the comments below.

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