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Nano-cables pave the way for future batteries

carbon-nanotubes.jpg
Coaxial nanocables with electronically
conducting core and nanoporous sheath
Photo: Chemistry of Materials

Scientists from the Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences in China were able to coat carbon nanotubes with a nanoporous layer of TiO2 (titanium dioxide) playing a crucial role in the development of new high-capacity batteries.

Carbon nanotubes and TiO2 have been investigated in the past but have never been found to be practical as electrodes until recently. ‘Titanium dioxide on its own is totally unsuitable for electrodes,’ said Joachim Maier of the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart, Germany, who collaborated on the research.

‘Although it can hold lithium ions effectively, they are slow to diffuse through the structure – and it can take years to fill a millimetre-thick crystal. However, if the TiO2 is only 10nm thick, it is filled in milliseconds,’ he says.

Many compounds used today can fracture after repeat charging and discharging, the nanocables however appear to be reliable with no capacity loss after even one hundred cycles.  When the material is simple and cheaper to attain in comparisson to traditional electrodes used with rare metals like lithium, the nanotube model serves a great advantage for energy storage devices and supercapacitors paving their way as the next-generation in battery technology.

For more information:

The Royal Society of Chemistry: Better batteries with nano-cables

Fabrizio Pilato is founder and publisher of Mobile Magazine. You can send him news tips and feedback to fabrizio@mobilemag.comAdd yourself as a fan of the Mobile Magazine Facebook page.

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