Using graphene, Samsung could nearly double battery capacities

Growing graphene cells directly on silicon in the lab has boosted energy density of batteries by 1.8 times compared to conventional batteries.
Written by Kevin Tofel, Contributor

For all of the progress we've made with mobile devices, they're still limited by relatively older technology. Namely: The batteries that power them typically get us through a day or so.

Samsung's research group may be on to something that nearly doubles that run-time by expanding the energy density -- the amount of stored power in a given area -- to 1.8 times of current batteries.

On Friday, Neowin noted that the research team published its experimental findings, explaining how it achieved this result in the labs.

Samsung's team used silicon anodes in lieu of graphite ones; an approach many efforts in this space have taken. The challenge here though is that the silicon can expand or contract during the battery charging and discharging cycles.

To counter that, Samsung's team created a process to grow graphene cells directly on the silicon in layers that can adjust to allow for the silicon's expansion:

"The graphene layers anchored onto the silicon surface accommodate the volume expansion of silicon via a sliding process between adjacent graphene layers. When paired with a commercial lithium cobalt oxide cathode, the silicon carbide-free graphene coating allows the full cell to reach volumetric energy densities of 972 and 700 Wh l-1 at first and 200th cycle, respectively, 1.8 and 1.5 times higher than those of current commercial lithium-ion batteries."

While the technology sounds promising, keep in mind that this is just a research project. Any commercial implementation won't happen quickly, so for now, you'll have to keep plugging in that phone, tablet or watch every night.

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