Li-imide: The next-generation smartphone or tablet battery?

Summary:Lithium-Ion technology is old and outdated, doesn't like heat, and decomposes into corrosive hydrofluoric acid. After a few hundred recharges, the battery is dead. Enter Li-imide™ technology, which doesn't suffer from any of these limitations.

As we break the bonds of our desktop computers and perform more work when on the move with tablets and smartphones, the demands that we place on the battery packs inside these devices has increased exponentially. But existing Lithium-ion technology has been pushed to its limits, so it's time for a replacement.

Enter Li-imide technology.

Li-imide technology is not new. It was first patented by science and innovation research firm DuPont in 2000. The technology was then acquired by Leyden Energy in 2007, and after four years of research and development, the first product based on Li-imide was launched.

Li-imide is interesting stuff, and brings to the table a number of benefits over existing Lithium-ion technology, which is reliant on a chemical with a tongue-twister of a name -- lithium hexafluorophosphate, or LiPF6 for short. Lithium-ion power packs don't like being exposed to heat, because this causes the LiPF6 to decompose into hydrofluoric acid, an extremely corrosive substance. This powerful acid instantly goes to work corroding the battery.

"Ever noticed how Li-ion cell datasheets always test cells at 20°C (68°F) to meet 100 percent performance marks?" questions Leyden Energy on its website: "Or how the number of charge cycles seems to fall off a cliff when temperatures are on the rise? In fact, such trade-offs between temperature and cycle life are a direct result of the most widely used electrolyte in Li-ion cells, lithium Hexafluorophosphate (LiPF6)".

Lithium-ion power packs also don't like being subjected to regular recharging, and occasionally like to swell up inconveniently -- something that you don't want to happen when said battery pack is confined inside a smartphone, tablet or notebook.

Power packs that puff out can leak nasty chemicals, damage the device they are supposed to be powering, and even burst enthusiastically into flames. None of this is good for the device, or the unfortunate person who happens to be holding it, or carrying it in a pocket.

Li-imide technology suffers from none of these problems. There's no LiPF6 to decompose into hydrofluoric acid, so the batteries can survive up to three times more recharge cycles and can operate over much higher temperatures. Li-imide power packs also have a significantly higher energy density than Lithium-ion power packs, allowing devices to run longer on a single recharge.

Li-imide technology seems to be just what we smartphone and tablet toting individuals need to allow us to do more for longer.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Smartphones, Tablets

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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