Battery design gets nanotube boost

NSCU have aligned silicon-coated carbon nanotubes like a layer of drinking straws.

NCSU team aligns silicon-coated carbon nanotubes like a layer of drinking straws. Photo credit: Horia Varlan

Researchers at North Carolina State University have created a new flexible nano-scaffold for rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that could help make cell phone and electric car batteries last longer.

The research, published online in Advanced Materials, shows the potential of manufactured sheets of aligned carbon nanotubes coated with silicon, a material with a much higher energy storage capacity than the graphite composites typically used.
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Nanoflowers let Li-ion batteries bloom

North Carolina State University researchers have created flower-like structures out of germanium sulfide (a semiconductor material) that have extremely thin petals with an enormous surface area, which could dramatically boost the capacity of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries.

The “petals” are 20 to 30 nanometers thick, up to 100 micrometers long and are created by vaporising germanium sulfide (GeS) powder in a furnace, blowing it to a cooler area where it solidifies into sheets, then repeating the process to build up the final “flower”.

One of many nanotechnology projects aimed at improving the capacity of Li-ion technology, such as nanocarbon “brushes” and “foams”, this technique is both cheap and non-toxic, says the University.