A tiny structure called a nanopore ‘could bring about the ultimate miniaturisation of energy storage components’.
Invented by University of Maryland researchers, the nanopore is a tiny hole in a ceramic sheet. It holds an electrolyte to carry an electrical charge between nanotube electrodes at either end. Each nanoelectrode includes an outer nanotube current collector (made of Ruthenium) and an inner nanotube of vanadium oxide (V2O5) storage material, forming a symmetric full nanopore storage cell, with anode and cathode separated by an electrolyte region. The V2O5 is pre-lithiated at one end to serve as the anode. Pristine V2O5 at the other end serves as the cathode. These form a battery that is asymmetrically cycled between the low voltage and 1.8V. The battery can be charged in 12 minutes, and recharged ‘thousands of times’.
Millions of nanopores can fit into a single larger battery (about the size of a postage stamp). The nanopores are all the same shape, so they can be packed together very efficiently.
The scientists say that the next version of the nanopore could be 10 times as powerful as the current concept. Strategies are now being conceived to bring the battery to mass-production.
The research was published in the journal Nature.