Battery Research and Applications

The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to John Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham, and Akira Yoshino “for the development of lithium-ion batteries.” Read more about battery research and applications in this Collection of stories from the Physics archive.


Speeding Up Battery Charging with Quantum Physics

In a 2017 study of nanoscale batteries with quantized energy states, researchers predicted that coupling the batteries together quantum mechanically would allow them to be charged faster.

https://physics.aps.org/synopsis-for/10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.150601

Relativity Powers Your Car Battery

These 2011 simulations revealed that the lead-acid battery found in most cars would have a far lower voltage if not for the relativistic effects in the lead atom.

https://physics.aps.org/story/v27/st2

A New Model for Electrolyte Conductivity

A 2019 model provided a new way to calculate the conductivity of electrolytes with a very high concentration of ions. The approach could help to more efficiently screen electrolyte materials for batteries.

https://physics.aps.org/synopsis-for/10.1103/PhysRevLett.122.136001

Wave Trick May Lead to Wireless Charging at a Distance

Finding ways to charge batteries from a distance is useful for mobile electronics and medical implants. In 2018, researchers showed that they could boost the energy efficiency of long-distance charging with the help of wave interference.

https://physics.aps.org/articles/v11/33

Polarons Get the Full Treatment

Quasiparticles known as polarons can contribute to charge transport in rechargeable batteries. In 2019, researchers developed a new formalism for modeling polarons that could help describe the quasiparticles’ behavior in many types of materials.

https://physics.aps.org/articles/v12/68

Magnetic Field Aligns Polymer Structures

Using patterned materials in a battery can improve its performance. In 2015, researchers demonstrated a creative patterning method that relied on polymers self-organizing into nanoscale cylinders or sheets.

https://physics.aps.org/articles/v8/124

Defects Step Aside to Let Battery Current Flow

In 2011, researchers explained how a then novel type of rechargeable battery is able to bundle together defects so that they don’t block the flow of ions between electrodes.

https://physics.aps.org/synopsis-for/10.1103/PhysRevLett.107.085507

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