Future of Nanoelectronics: 20-Hour Battery Life for your Laptop

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When people think of nanotechnology in electronics they like to imagine molecular electronics, but it may be the mundane that pushes nanotechnology further into the electronics industry.

Imagine a laptop battery that could last 20 hours rather than 2. That is what you call a unique selling point, and surely something that has long been sought by computer manufacturers.

Some of you might remember NEC letting it be known (back in 2001, then in 2003, and again in 2004--the picture above gives you an indication of how long ago this was) that they had a fuel-cell battery enabled by nanotechnology that would last for 40 hours, and it would hit the market by 2004. It was never released to the market, and is hardly mentioned now except for those who question, â''Whatever happened toâ'¿?â''

The latest entry into the fray of improving upon Li-Ion battery technology comes from Yi Cui, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford.

The beauty of this solution isâ'¿well, itâ''s not a fuel cell with all its incumbent limitations. Instead it simply replaces the lithium in the anode with silicon nanowiresâ'¿thatâ''s very simply.

Supposedly, current manufacturing techniques can easily accommodate this solution. That said, it is still just research, although Cui has announced the launching of a start-up to commercialize the technology.

Expect a lot more in the field of battery technology. Pretty safe bet that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

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