From 0% to 100% in 30 seconds. That’s how long it will take to charge your smartphone battery.
Scientists in Israel have succeeded in developing a technology that can charge a smartphone in just 30 seconds. StoreDot Ltd., a University of Tel Aviv-based technology research and development company, showcased its proprietary bio-molecule based smartphone battery charger FlashBattery during the Microsoft ThinkNext event in April last year, charging a Samsung S4 smartphone in 26 seconds.
This discovery has an interesting story of birth. During a University of Tel Aviv research into Alzheimer’s disease, researchers found that a certain peptide molecule that ‘shortens’ neurons in the brain causing Alzheimer’s was also showing high capacitance, due to a phenomenon called ‘charge trapping’ — where electrons are effectively held in place. According to StoreDot’s chief scientist, Professor Gil Rosenman, two of these peptide molecules can be used to create a viable crystal that measures only two nanometers long. These crystals form the NanoDots at the heart of StoreDot’s FlashBattery technology. Artificially synthesised from the same building blocks as natural peptides, these NanoDots can prove to be revolutionary power storage and display systems.
The peptide NanoDots covers an electrode found in a standard battery, extending its reactive surface and allowing its capacity to be increased manifold. Adding NanoDots makes the electrode multi-functional. This arrangement causes ions to flow from a modified anode to a modified cathode at a speed that could not be attained through existing technologies. Together with a proprietary separator and electrolyte, this new architecture delivers high current and low internal resistance, with enhanced energy density and a prolonged battery life. Patent US 8802193 titled “Vapor deposition of biomolecules” granted to Prof Rosenman in August 2014 claims a method of vapour depositing biomolecules on electrodes, which is the key step for StoreDot’s “FlashBattery”.
Patent pending application US 20120120551 claims the discovery of multi-function electrodes with a NanoDots coating, while patent application US 20130294180 aims to protect the innovative charging system.
The size of the displayed FlashBattery was as big as a laptop charger. The research team is now working to reduce the size to that of regular smartphone chargers. The company hopes to achieve the slim battery size and market the charger in 2016.
The coffers are filling up
StoreDot’s revolutionary technology has attracted much attention. The company is backed by Russian billionaire and Chelsea soccer club owner, Roman Abramovich and it has already raised $48 million in funding from various leading mobile phone manufacturers.
StoreDot’s CEO Doron Myersdorf said that a fast-charge phone would cost $100-$150 more than current models and would ultimately be able to handle 1,500 recharge/discharge cycles, giving it about three years of life.
The hidden potential in the building blocks of life are yet to be discovered. StoreDot’s bio-organic battery is just another success in honing and taming nature to suit human needs. Nanotechnology, which has intrigued the world for decades now, has joined hands with biotechnology to unearth material properties that is set to awe humankind. And while we wait for the smartphone to charge in a jiffy, SmartDot is aiming to build a charging system for electronic vehicles. (Will Tesla and Toyota cash in on this?)
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