Brace Yourself For the Next Generation of Smartphone Batteries

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We all use batteries in some form or the other. Batteries have become an integral part of our daily lives. Be it inverter batteries, solar batteries, cars batteries, or dry batteries we use in smartphones. Use of batteries is inevitable now. However, with all the advantages we enjoy, we are also well versed with the limitations of the batteries we use daily. The batteries, at present, have limited charging capabilities in proportion to their size. This size issue might not be very daunting in case of inverter or car batteries, however, the size issue is definitely vexatious when it comes to smartphone, tablets, and laptop batteries.

Nowadays, if you need a smartphone with a high capacity battery, you have to compromise with the size of your smartphone. Battery size has to be increased in order to increase its charging capacity, it is ineluctable. Also, with greater battery size comes greater battery weight. Overall, you cannot choose a light weight battery with better performance or a better performing battery with lesser size, or vice versa. We all have learnt to live with this limitation, as chemistry is to be blamed here for the issue.

For example, lithium-ion batteries which we commonly use in our smartphones have limited capacity to absorb and retain charge. To increase the charge, we need to increase the size of the electrodes as it is the only available solution. However, increase in the electrode size obviously results in increase in battery size and battery weight. To overcome this, one of the viable solutions is to switch to some better materials than lithium-ions that can provide higher charge retention with the same battery size.

Moreover, the material we need has to have better charging capabilities than the lithium-ions and has to be economically available. As per all the research done till date, Lithium-sulphur combination seems to provide just that. The first reason in favor is that Lithium-sulphur has at least 60% more charging capability than the existing Lithium-ion batteries. This results in having nearly double battery charge (in ideal conditions) with the same battery size we currently use in our smartphones. The second reason in favor is the cost of using sulphur as sulphur is easily available for industrial use and is nearly dirt cheap.

Then why are we not using Lithium-sulphur batteries already?

Chemistry is again to blame here, as sulphur is known to have a tendency of dissolving very rapidly. In batteries, sulphur is required to hold battery components and to keep the electrical circuit from breaking. Thereby, when sulphur dissolves, the battery dies. This makes commercial use of Lithium-sulphur batteries inappropriate at least in smartphones as the smartphones require batteries that can be charged again and again up to many cycles.


Gaurav Sharma

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