MIT engineers have created a kind of beltway that allows for the rapid transit of electrical energy through a well-known battery material, an advance that could usher in smaller, lighter batteries for cell phones and other devices that could recharge in seconds rather than hours.
The work could also allow for the quick recharging of batteries in electric cars, although that particular application would be limited by the amount of power available to a homeowner through the electric rid.
Scientist made a surprising discovery. Computer calculations of a well-known battery material, lithium iron phosphate, predicted that the material 's lithium ions should actually be moving extremely quickly.
Scientist devised a way around the problem by creating a new surface structure that does allow the lithium ions to move quickly around the outside of the material, much like a beltway around a city. When an ion traveling along this beltway reaches a tunnel, it is instantly diverted into it.
Using their new processing technique, the two went on to make a small battery that could be fully charged or discharged in 10 to 20 seconds (it takes six minutes to fully charge or discharge a cell made from the unprocessed material).