From the day I picked up the original Evo 4G, I realized that battery technology was, no doubt, lagging behind the devices it powered. Looking to push batteries a bit closer to the impressive power of today's mobile technology, researchers at Northwestern University have significantly boosted the power of lithium-ion batteries by making a few key changes.

To achieve such impressive performance enhancements, the researchers essentially poked millions of holes in the battery's graphene layers using a chemical oxidation process. Additionally, tweaks were made to the material makeup of the batteries, including packing in more ions and speeding up their movement by replacing sheets of silicon with a different substance. These changes would evidently allow a battery to charge from 0 to 100% in a miniscule 15 minutes, and last almost a week before needing to be plugged in.

The news isn't all fantastic, however. The scientists say that the performance improvements decline after just 150 charge cycles, making the new batteries less than durable. That being said, the batteries would still be a major step up over today's technology. Prof Harold Kung, part of the chemical and biological department at Northwestern had this to say:

Even after 150 charges, which would be one year or more of operation, the battery is still five times more effective than lithium-ion batteries on the market today.

Wondering when this technology will get to your hands? The researchers indicated that the batteries could hit stores in as little as five years. In the meantime, the team plans to make further improvements by taking a closer look at the cathode aspect of the battery.

via BBC

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • dan

    5 years? well now, it's not anything to worry about yet...

    5 years is a long time in the technological age.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      If it comes true in 5 years, it'll be the largest leap in battery tech in as long as I can remember. As long as my Nexus X is going to be able to last through a few days, I think we'll all be quite happy.

  • Hussain Al-Khalaf

    If I'm a phone manufacturer and want to satisfy my customers, and the price of these batteries is logical to their spec. ( 50~100% more than current battries ) then I'll be happy to have it in high-end phones and offer a one time free battery replacement after one year of having the phone !!

    • http://www.liamspradlin.com Liam Spradlin

      That sounds like a great idea, but I'm expecting that in the meantime (until this technology is released to manufacturers) the quality/life will improve such that we won't need replacements after just a year.

      • Yoda

        By the end of that year (by which time the battery will still be performing better than current ones) half of us will be up for a new phone anyway.

        I say give us the technology now.

        A 70% plan now is better than a 100% plan five years from now.

  • Fors

    If one charge could last almost a week then we only need to charge about 50 times a year. 150 charge cycles would mean almost three year. Seems pretty OK for me.

  • http://denh.am DrMacinyasha


  • Arnold

    This article is even worse than the one on Androidandme !!

    The author does not understand that this technology permits batteries to wear out slower and NOT to extend the battery life per charge !!!

    It means that for example after 5 years of use the battery will not be dead like a current generation battery.

    • Bug

      Could you give your sources (other than that BBC article referred here) that would confirm what you claim?

      At least the BBC article says that the maximum charge is improved, which, assuming equal power usage, means battery "life" per charge is improved. Also, that BBC article says the new tech wears out faster (not slower as you claim). However, the longer time between charges compensates for this, as does the initially much higher maximum charge.

      I wonder who is the one not understanding...

    • Steven

      Straight from NW...


      You're both (half) wrong. It's higher charge density (longer battery life), faster charging, AND more robust.

      • GraveUypo

        not so sure. the "more robust" part is refering to the 2 new techniques using silicon in comparison to just replacing carbon with silicon on current batteries.

        it stated this about the ability of different technologies to keep the charge (relative to it's maximum capacity) over its life span:

        Carbon layers (current) = x

        Simple Silicon layer = y

        Silicon layer + 2 techniques = y+z

        where y x with this info alone.

        • Steven

          “Even after 150 charges, which would be one year or more of operation, the battery is still five times more effective than lithium-ion batteries on the market today.”

          That's what I was referring too, guess it needed a little clarification.

          You've got the increased charge capacity and charge speed, but it's still outperforming the batteries of today after 150 charge cycles. If the charge really lasts 10X longer, and a full charge takes 15 minutes, you're not going to need to do a lot of "partial" charging to top off the battery.

          So, 150 charge cycles, with battery lasting ~1 week between charges would give me a battery lasting ~3 years, and still be better than what's on the market now.

    • Arnold
  • http://www.weblogku.com Azam

    Impressive finding...

  • http://androidpandora.blogspot.com/ Myself

    note to apple: now this is something worth patenting, not your lame design patents

    • J

      Don't give them any ideas.... I want this for Android, not iPhone propitiatory!

  • Namuna

    Somebody on that Northwestern U team needs to get this project up on Kickstarter right damned NOW!!! 5 years my ass!!!

  • Nich

    How do we ALL leave a message with NW.edu to get them to mass produce this now ?

    i know it's not perfect but it is a major step above what we have . i would buy this as is today and accept the diminishing returns in charge life .


  • PezLee

    A little devil's advocate for you...
    I have a feeling (no, I have no solid stats on that turn around time) that quite a bit of the 5 years deal is an issue with safety testing for authorization for production in the U.S.
    As Northwestern would not be the producers/retailers of the end-user product, they could sell the current process to a manufacturer in another country, but it would still likely not be available in the U.S. for some time as safety testing is conducted.
    From the other side of the coin, if they did sell the process, then the manufacturer's R&D team might make the advancements in the battery tech before the lower budget lab could and then they would be unable to publish another article, would lose grant money and the University would be out royalties once the more advanced tech became standard.

  • David Hart

    3 more years :)

  • Terrel Thompson

    i gladly buy this now. shoot ill buy 3 without caring about the battery durability. 15 min i mean come on thats amazing. My lg g3 takes around 100 minutes to go from 0 to 100 percent, while thats impressive ill take 15 minutes even if the battery cycle was 50