Smartphone battery life is a persistent issue among todays consumers, as our increased usage outpaces battery technology. We charge multiple times each day, and still it isn’t always enough.
Silicon-based startup Amprius has developed a lithium-ion battery that stores about 20% more power than those currently on the market. They have already sold batteries to smartphone manufacturers, and scored funding to develop batteries capable of storing over 50% more energy than those we use now.
Without going into the chemistry behind it, the key to the long life of this battery is replacing the standard graphite anode with a silicon one. Four lithium ions can bond to just one silicon atom, but it takes six carbon atoms to bond to just one lithium ion. This means the new batteries can store more energy in less space – but because silicon absorbs more lithium ions, it expands and contracts much more than graphite, meaning the batteries are ruined after just a few cycles. But now, Amprius has developed a cathode of silicon coated in carbon to make them stronger. It’s still a 10-50% improvement in battery life, and most importantly, the batteries can be manufactured without any special equipment. The batteries also keep 80% of their capacity through 500 cycles – Amprius aims for their next versions to maintain the same through 700-1000 cycles.
Since these batteries have already been in production, your smartphone may actually have one – but you wouldn’t know it because rather than suddenly increasing the battery life 50%, smartphone manufacturers instead slowly improve upon last year’s model. Your smartphone may have 10 or 20% more battery life than its previous generation, however if it uses Amprius’ new technology then the battery would still be smaller – leaving more room for high-performance chips and sensors.
Given the choice, would you choose a smartphone with more features and speed, or a longer battery life?
Source: Extreme Tech