Ah, battery life. Every new smartphone promises more. And yet, it’s never enough. Samsung is working on improving lithium-ion battery technology. Their solution? Graphene.

Samsung scientists grow graphene cells on the silicon surface as a coating material.

A paper published in Nature explains:

The graphene layers anchored onto the silicon surface accommodate the volume expansion of silicon via a sliding process between adjacent graphene layers. When paired with a commercial lithium cobalt oxide cathode, the silicon carbide-free graphene coating allows the full cell to reach volumetric energy densities of 972 and 700 Wh l-1 at first and 200th cycle, respectively, 1.8 and 1.5 times higher than those of current commercial lithium-ion batteries.

If your smartphone can’t last ten hours before needing a charge, this technology could ‘theoretically’ extend it towards 18 hours.

Theoretically is the key word here.

The technology sounds great, but it’s still in the research stage. Don’t expect the next Samsung Galaxy to pack this tech. It will take several more years of testing and prototyping before this new method is in a Samsung consumer product.

It’s promising research that would have applications in any area where increasing the battery size isn’t an option.

Graphene’s promise

graphene sheet

Credit: Artist impression from The University of Manchester

Graphene is a relatively new material. It was first successfully isolated in 2003. Since then, researchers have been working on commercial applications. It’s not hard to see why everyone is so excited.

Graphene is many times stronger than steel and is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity.

Unfortunately, producing it in large amounts is difficult and expensive.

Graphene’s commercial applications are pretty much non-existent. The only one I could find is a graphene light bulb being produced by Graphene Lighting PLC.

Graphene can be a game changer. Its properties could be used in sectors ranging from electronics to medicine.

But, finding an easier, cheaper way to produce graphene is a must for the material to see widespread commercial adoption. Until then, we will keep reading about it in research papers or single applications.

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