Low battery indications are probably the most annoying aspect in today's gadget-driven world. The use of nanotechnology could possibly lessen the immediate stress of temporarily being cut off from the cyber universe that has become such an intricate part of our daily routine or even give battery driven cars an increase in mileage.
Nano batteries are fabricated batteries utilizing technology at the nanoscale. These batteries may be nano in size or may use nanotechnology in a macro scale battery. Nanoscale batteries can be combined together to function as a macrobattery such as within a nanopore battery. Traditional lithium-ion battery technology uses active materials, such as cobalt-oxide or manganese oxide, with particles that range in size between 5 and 20 micrometers. It is hoped that nano-engineering will improve many of the shortcomings of present battery technology, such as volume expansion and power density.
Nanotechnology has important contributions to make to the efficiency of energy storage. Note that the types of batteries where nano is making a difference are the ones in cars, laptops, cellphones, and industrial power backups. So how does nanotechnology help batteries work more efficiently? A key factor in battery efficiency is the power density, or how much electrical power a battery can supply per weight. Of the various types of batteries in use, lithium-ion batteries have the greatest power density, which is why they are used in laptops and electric cars.
Using nanotechnology in the manufacture of batteries could increase the power available from a battery through several methods being developed today such as coating the electrode's surface with nanoparticles, nanowires, or other nanostructures. Because the anode is where lithium ions are stored when the battery is charged, increasing the number of stored ions increases the stored electrical power. Various researchers and companies working with lithium-ion batteries have used nanomaterials to develop anodes with a greater density of locations to which lithium ions can attach. This technique increases the surface area of the electrodes, allowing more lithium ions to be stored. Changing these atoms varies the electrochemical reaction, which could give off more energy, increasing the power produced by the battery for any given weight. These techniques could increase the efficiency of hybrid or electric vehicles by significantly reducing the battery weight or increasing their range.
Companies such as Panasonic, Samsung, Apple and Tesla are currently looking to incorporate nanotechnology in their products. Although nanotechnology is still considered a technology of the future, it is definitely in the near future, and the applications are seemingly endless.