Lithium ion battery life doubled
It turns out that we may not have to resort to exotic and expensive fuel cells to squeeze more battery life into portable devices after all. Research being done by the Department of Energy's Sandia National Labs has discovered that adding silicon to a lithium ion battery's graphite anode can double battery life:
The researchers have found that by adding small particles of silicon into a graphite matrix, the large battery capacities can be maintained. The new silicon/graphite anode combines large capacity with better capacity retention during cycling than other high-capacity materials. Designers also have the ability to control the anode's performance by changing the composition and microstructure of the graphite/silicon mix, according to the researchers.
What's the best part? The process uses existing milling technology and cheap raw materials.
Unlike faster processors, whose power may go largely untapped by less demanding mainstream users, and new graphics chips, whose features may never be exploited by non-gamers, better battery life is something that users of all portable devices should be able to appreciate.