One of the hurdles that automakers (GM) claim is holding back the development of electric cars is battery technology and cost. Wouldn't it be nice if you could just dump materials into a bucket, shake it up and get lithium-ion batteries? It would, and that is kinda what researchers at MIT are doing. "Ultimately, the goal is just to chuck a bunch of stuff into a bucket and have it self-assemble into a battery," says Jeff Dahn, professor of chemistry and physics at Dalhousie University, in Canada.
Yet-Ming Chiang, a professor of materials science at MIT, and his colleagues are the ones developing this new nanotechnology. The chances of me explaining this correctly in scientific terms are negligible, so I won't try. Instead, I'll just say that they chose micro-particles and nano-particles that cluster together, creating opposite electrodes while leaving enough of a gap to create electricity between said electrodes. Clear as mud, right?
In any case, as long as it works, that is all we need to know for now. How long until this technology impacts the battery market is arguably the more important question, not that it has any clearer of an answer. Soon is all we can hope.
[Source: Technology Review]