Samsung Electronics develops technique that almost doubles smartphone battery life

Samsung Electronics' researchers unveiled a new process for constructing Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries that they said could almost double the life of the power sources for smartphones and electric cars.

In a research paper published by Nature Communications, the Samsung team revealed they have developed a method that enables the use of silicon as an active material for future Li-Ion batteries that would boost their energy density by 1.8 times on first charge, and by 1.5 times on the 200th charge cycle.

The team reported that growing a graphene layer over the surface of the silicon eradicates problems related to silicon volume changes over charge and discharge cycles that weakens the material's energy density and lifecycle. At its simplest level, the silicon can slide between layers of graphene to create a carbide-free coating that can boost the energy density of the full cell when combined with a commercial lithium cobalt oxide cathode, the research paper revealed.

While industry experts told Business Korea that it could take up to two years to commercialise the new approach, the move could prove a significant point of differentiation in the company's future smartphones.

The South Korean company placed battery life front and centre when presenting its new flagship Galaxy S6 smartphone at Mobile World Congress in March. However, rather than reporting on increases to the overall life of the power source, Samsung focused on the speed of charging its latest high-end device: users could gain up to four hours of battery life in just 10 minutes of charging, the company said.

Dyson, a UK-based manufacturer of bag-free vacuum cleaners and other innovative products, announced later in March that it is backing development of a solid state battery capable of holding twice the energy of current Li-Ion batteries.

The company invested $15 million (€13.4 million) in Sakti3, a company started by University of Michigan researchers, in a move that granted Dyson exclusive rights to manufacture and use Sakti3's batteries.

For more:
- see this Nature Communications article
- view this Business Korea report

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