Charge your phone in six minutes with MIT 'egg and yolk' battery

MIT have created a new, affordable type of battery that promises to charge a smartphone in six minutes, using a nanoparticle 'egg and yolk' structure.

The battery consists of a titanium dioxide protective shell for the 'yolk' centre that can then expand and contract within the nanoparticle. This means that the standard lithium-ion battery's negative electrode graphite can be replaced with aluminium.

Normally, lithium-ion batteries expand and contract during each cycle, which gradually wears down its capacity. The protective shell stops this from happening.

"We came up with the method serendipitously, it was a chance discovery," MIT professor Ju Li said.

The protective shell is what makes this a viable option for a battery used for charging, and has been developed by researchers from MIT and China's Tsinghua University.

David Lou, an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said: "These yolk-shell particles show very impressive performance in lab-scale testing. To me, the most attractive point of this work is that the process appears simple and scalable."

Earlier this year, researchers at Stanford University unveiled a new mobile phone battery that they claimed could charge in only 60 seconds. It was also touted as being safer and more resilient than lithium alternatives.

"We have developed a rechargeable aluminium that may replace existing storage devices, such as alkaline batteries, which are bad for the environment, and lithium-ion batteries, which occasionally burst into flames," said Hongjie Dai, professor of chemistry at Stanford. Our new battery won't catch fire, even if you drill through it."

In 2014, a flexible paper-thin battery was also being developed by Imprint Energy, after it secured $6m to produce batteries that could be used in increasingly slender phones and tablets.

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

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