How to Build a Safer, More Energy-Dense Lithium-ion Battery

Chipmaking techniques contribute to a three-dimensional battery design that outperforms today’s best cells

11 min read
Enovix 3D Silicon Lithium-ion Battery
Stacked Deck: This cutaway view of an Enovix 3D Silicon lithium-ion rechargeable battery prototype has three stacked 1-millimeter-thick cells.
Photo: Enovix Corp.

Hardly a month passes without shocking news of lithium-ion batteries catching fire: Laptops are torched, airlines are grounded, hoverboards go up in flames. The 2016 fires inside Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 smartphone led to a $US 5 billion recall and then to a discontinuation of the model, moves that together cut Samsung’s market capitalization by many billions.

In January 2017, after months of speculation, Samsung announced that two separate design problems created the battery malfunctions that caused some of the devices to overheat. That different design flaws can produce the same catastrophic outcome underlines the inherently unstable nature of today’s Li-ion batteries. Any mobile product incorporating them is thus potentially unsafe.

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Superlattices Could Make Bulky Capacitors Obsolete

Researchers hope artificial antiferroelectric capacitors could help miniaturize electronics further

3 min read
A grid of arrows pointing in different directions

In artificial antiferroelectric structures, electric dipoles are normally arranged in ways that lead to zero electric polarization.

Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology/Science Advances

One roadblock to shrinking present-day electronics is the relatively large size of their capacitors. Now scientists have developed new "superlattices" that might help build capacitors as small as one-hundredth the size of conventional ones.

Whereas batteries store energy in chemical form, capacitors store energy in an electric field. Batteries typically possess greater energy densities than capacitors—they can store more energy for their weight. However, capacitors usually have greater power densities than batteries—they charge and discharge more quickly. This makes capacitors useful for applications involving pulses of power.

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No More Invasive Surgery—This Pacemaker Dissolves Instead

Temporary pacemakers are often vital but dangerous to remove when their jobs are done

3 min read
Animated gif of a device with a coil on one end dissolving between days 1 and 60.

The transient pacemaker, developed at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., harmlessly dissolves in the patient's body over time.

Northwestern University

After having cardiovascular surgery, many patients require a temporary pacemaker to help stabilize their heart rate. The device consists of a pulse generator, one or more insulated wires, and an electrode at the end of each wire.

The pulse generator—a metal case that contains electronic circuitry with a small computer and a battery—regulates the impulses sent to the heart. The wire is connected to the pulse generator on one end while the electrode is placed inside one of the heart’s chambers.

But there are several issues with temporary pacemakers: The generator limits the patient’s mobility, and the wires must be surgically removed, which can cause complications such as infection, dislodgment, torn or damaged tissues, bleeding, and blood clots.

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How New Storage Technologies Enhance HPC Systems

Different storage technologies can maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of HPC systems while providing high capacity and low latency storage, and minimizing network bandwidth and power consumption

1 min read
How New Storage Technologies Enhance HPC Systems

High-performance computing (HPC) has historically been available primarily to governments, research institutions, and a few very large corporations for modeling, simulation, and forecasting applications. As HPC platforms are being deployed in the cloud for shared services, high-performance computing is becoming much more accessible, and its use is benefiting organizations of all sizes. Increasing investment in the industrial internet of things (IIoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and electronic design automation (EDA) and silicon IP for engineering development are a few factors that are driving increased use of high-performance computing systems. In general, increasingly complex models for big data processing, simulation, and forecasting are driving a need for more compute power and greater storage capacity & performance.

This white paper highlights how different storage technologies can maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of HPC systems while providing high capacity and low latency storage, and minimizing network bandwidth and power consumption.