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article imageSamsung 'graphene ball' could let phones charge five times faster

By James Walker     Nov 27, 2017 in Technology
Samsung's found a way of making lithium-ion smartphone batteries charge faster and last longer. The company's synthesized and patented a "graphene ball" that considerably improves the performance of lithium-ion cells, offering 45% higher charge capacity.
The breakthrough could help to extend the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries while new alternative technologies are under development. The graphene ball was developed at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) as a research project to improve the endurance of conventional batteries.
Using a technique detailed in the Nature journal this month, SAIT managed to engineer a 3D graphene structure by adding silicon oxide nanoparticles. Under initial tests, Samsung found the graphene ball batteries lasted 45 percent longer and recharged five times faster than regular cells without the technology.
As an added advantage, the cells are usable up to temperatures of 60 degrees Celsius. This extends the applications of the batteries and makes them more suitable for use in large-scale devices such as electric cars. Charge retention is also good at 78.6 percent after completing 500 recharge cycles. Retention performance was not significantly affected by temperature variations.
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The technology works by coating the battery's cathode and electrode with a layer of the graphene compound. This helps to improve the cell's internal stability, allowing it to withstand the pressures of high-current fast charging without impacting its longevity or overall capacity. It's a promising way to extend the life of lithium-ion batteries, a technology many see as being at the limits of its potential.
Since first being developed over 25 years ago, lithium-ion batteries have become the power source of choice for the mobile gadgets now critical to our lives. However, they're less suited to emerging forms of technology, including electric vehicles and even next-generation smartphones. The continual consumer demands of simultaneously higher capacity and faster charging are difficult to achieve using regular lithium-ion manufacturing techniques.
Graphene ball batteries could offer improved battery performance in the interim years before a true lithium-ion successor emerges. Several research efforts are already underway to find a more versatile alternative, offering longer-lasting smartphones and a path to new device categories.
More about Batteries, Lithiumion batteries, Graphene, future tech, Samsung