Battery charging is perhaps the most annoying fact of mobile life. Various approaches to wireless charging, which will somewhat alleviate the problem, are available. They haven’t exploded in popularity. Perhaps habits, even unpleasant ones, die hard.
Another area of research is speeding recharging. Huawei, according to InformationWeek, demonstrated technology at the Battery Symposium in Japan that can charge batteries 10 times faster than today’s approaches. The explanation is a bit complicated:
Specifically, Huawei claims it "bonded heteroatoms to the molecule of graphite in anode, which could be a catalyst for the capture and transmission of lithium through carbon bonds. The heteroatoms increase the charging speed of batteries without decreasing energy density or battery life."
When things get that complex, it is perhaps best to go right to the results. The story says that the method was used to charge a 600 mAh lithium-ion battery from being completely empty -- 0 percent -- to 68 percent in two minutes, and a 3,000 mAh battery from 0 percent to 48 percent in five minutes. The second battery was capable, after that five-minute period, of providing 10 hours of voice call on Huawei handsets.
Huawei isn’t the only company working on accelerating battery recharging. TechnoBuffalo said that the Snapdragon 820 processor has the Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology, which the company claims is 38 percent more efficient than Quick Charge 2.0 and four times faster than the charging common today. The processors probably won’t be available until early next year.
Many of the advances that end up with corporate labels on them begin in academia. Last week, Network World reported on research at Vanderbilt University on the use of quantum dots made of iron pyrite, which also is known as “fool’s gold.”
The research, conducted by a team led by graduate student Anna Douglas, found that iron pyrite quantum dots store energy differently than the way it is stored in traditional lithium-ion batteries. The piece says that it has long been known that quantum dots allow fast charging, but that the speed is accompanied by a chemical reaction that kills the battery. The research showed that quantum dots made of iron pyrite retain the ability to charge a battery in seconds – without the deleterious effects.
Not all the research is on speeding recharging. Another way to alleviate the annoyance of life with batteries is to extend the battery life between charges. PC World reports on startup Prieto Battery, which is using a 3D solid state battery structure that it says is capable of accommodating five times as many lithium ions as batteries. The new batteries, which could be commercially available next year, also speed recharging.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.