Charging your phone could get a lot faster.
It typically takes around two hours to charge your iPhone from dead to fully juiced up. But what if you got your hands on a magical battery that could do it in seconds?
This could actually be a reality with a new nanomaterial called MXene.
The material is the product of research from Drexel University, headed by materials science and engineering professor Yury Gogotsi.
The nanomaterial differs from traditional batteries because it opens up more paths for ions to move quickly throughout the material.
The revolutionary electrode design uses a two-dimensional material called MXene to enable this proceess. Electrodes are the places where energy is stored in batteries for charging, so a change here can really morph the entire battery composition and charging process as we know it.
At a basic level, MXene is a hydrogel squished between oxide metal. It’s highly conductive, like the copper and aluminum used in electrical wires, allowing ions to move through it very quickly.
Image: College of engineering/drexel university
This is what the MXene material looks like.
Traditional batteries that we’re used to using have a much slower process than MXene. This is because there’s a limited path for ions to get to the ports, where they are then ready to charge your device.
MXeme is revolutionary because it creates multiple paths for the ions to travel through, meaning more of them can get to the charging ports at a much quicker rate. They can move quickly because of MXene’s composition itself. The high conductivity helps the ions to move along without a lot of resistance. On top of that, there are also more ports than in traditional batteries and supercapacitors. This means there are more places for ions to enter and leave the battery, bringing it to a whole new level of efficiency.
The research team at Drexel University has actually been working with the nanomaterial since 2011, but in slightly different use cases — namely, electromagnetic radiation shielding and water filtering. But the team is now exploring more about how MXene can revolutionize batteries in everyday appliances and gadgets.
The scientific breakthrough could mean much more than quicker phone charging times. Professor Gogotsi believes that MXene’s application in the real world will also lead to better laptop and electric car batteries. And not in the realm of a slight increase in efficiency, but charging rates being reduced from hours to minutes and seconds.
It might still be a couple of years before the production of MXene is scaled up enough to make a real difference. But the fact alone that there’s a material out there with the capacity to revolutionize charging this much is mind blowing in itself. So, whether we see MXene batteries in our everyday devices tomorrow or three years from now, it’s still something we very much look forward to.