Much ado about nothing at COM2008

Kristin: Click…Click…Click…Click…Click…fast flash from a mobile phone. Robert Mehalso demonstrated the micro-battery in his phone which was three times the width of a human hair and could increase battery life by 40 times.

Nanoporous materials - NanotectureThe battery is made from a new class of nanoporous materials, produced by self-assembly of liquid crystal templates (basically soap) developed by Nanotecture. Mixing this surfactant with water gives rise to different chemical structures including micella, hexagonal, lamellar and cubic phases. This can be done using electrodeposition or chemical deposition and both methods can control pore size and structure by material selection.

As batteries, these materials are much more effective than nanoparticles, as although nanoparticles may be good conductors, there is still power loss from particle to particle. But nanoporous materials have a uniform structure and straight pore path, so there is less resistance and higher power density. The battery is not affected by low temperatues, fully charges in minutes and has demonstrated cycles  of >300,000 compared with a lithium ion batteries (1,200 cycles).

As well as efficiency, other advantages are that these batteries are safer than lithium ion batteries as the electrolyte is water based and non-toxic. These materials also have applications in drug delivery, membranes, solar cells, sensors and self-cleaning glass.  Not bad for something full of holes. And did I mention that the equipment to do this was less than $200k US?

Originally published on Blog@NanoVic for Nanotechnology Victoria.

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