Researchers at Stanford University have discovered a new way to extend the life of a lithium-ion laptop battery from 2 hours per charge to 20 hours using nanowire technology. This breakthrough technology is based upon a tiny thicket of silicon nanowires that measure about 1/1000 the thickness of a sheet of paper.
Typically, lithium-ion batteries carry carbon anodes that do not shrink or swell much when charged or discharged. Silicon is a far more powerful choice, but it tends to shrink and swell more leading to rapid degradation of the batteries.
The nanowire technology, developed by assistant professor Yi Cui and his engineering colleagues, allows for this expansion and contraction among the thin mesh of wires. These cutting edge advanced batteries may just be the technology for which the electric car and plug-in electric vehicle manufacturers have been waiting.
Mark up another score for nanotechnology. When PHEVs start to roll off the assembly lines a couple of years from now, these nanowire lithium-ion batteries may just be the heart and soul of the vehicles.