Researchers from the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science developed a new anode for lithium-ion batteries - which makes them hold a charge up to 10 times greater than current design - and also charge 10 times faster. They say that this new technology could be commercialized within 3-5 years.
The new electrode is made from sandwiched layers of silicon and graphene sheets. This allows for a greater number of lithium atoms in the electrode while utilizing the flexibility of the graphene sheets to accommodate the volume changes of silicon during use. The new design also uses a chemical oxidation process to create small holes (10 to 20 nanometers) in the graphene sheets -- termed "in-plane defects" -- so the lithium ions would have a "shortcut" into the anode and be stored there by reaction with silicon. This reduced the time it takes the battery to recharge by up to 10 times.
The next step for this research is to study the cathode - which may enable further enhances to the battery's performance.