Researchers at the University of Maryland have invented a tiny structure that includes all the components of a battery that they say could bring about the ultimate miniaturization of energy storage components. (Watch a video.)
The structure is called a nanopore and it is a tiny hole in a ceramic sheet that holds electrolyte to carry the electrical charge between nanotube electrodes at either end. The existing device is a test, but the battery reportedly performs well. Chanyuan Liu, a graduate student in materials science and engineering, says that it can be fully charged in 12 minutes and recharged thousands of time.
Researchers say that many millions of these nanopores can be crammed into one larger battery the size of a postage stamp. One of the reasons the researchers think this unit is so successful is because each nanopore is shaped just like the others, which allows them to pack the tiny thin batteries together efficiently. Modeling shows that the unique design of the nanopore battery is responsible for its success.
The space inside the holes is so small that the space they take up, added together, would be no more than a grain of sand.