One true struggle of modern smartphones is to achieve a balance between using all your favorite apps and also conserving battery life. Usually, the latter is forgotten and by mid-day after you’ve been on social media, checked your email, and added your stories to whatever social media app you prefer, you’re in a desperation to charge your phone. Believe me, I’ve been there.
However, that all may soon change. A group of researcher over at Drexel University’s College of Engineering are developing a special material that they hope will one day be able to provide instant battery charging. Not fast charging, but literal instant charging. They call the material MXene. They hope that one day all our electronic equipment such as cars, laptops, and cell phone batteries will all be MXene enabled, thus fully charging in a matter of seconds as opposed to hours.
What’s so special about MXene?
Going into slightly technical details, a battery stores ions in a port called an active redox sites. These ports are directly related to the device’s battery life. So the more ports, the greater the battery life. Unfortunately, these ports are not exactly conductive. MXene on the other hand so much more conductive as it can efficiently transport electrodes within the battery and provide more ports than regular batteries.
Think of it as high speed highways with multiple lanes, rather than single lane roads. The result? A rapid charging rate of just a few seconds to full charge. The secret to MXene is its 2D structure and a combination of a hydrogen gel along with an oxide metal component. This combination allows the MXene to be sufficiently dense so that is shields against radiation and water while also giving it the earmarks of a battery.
Granted, MXene isn’t a new material, but it is one of the new wonder materials that could change technology on a molecular level. Graphene, for example has a wide spectrum of uses such as desalinating seawater, to creating robobugs, and even carrying an electric current with absolutely no resistance. Adding to this, MXene batteries also create the possibilities of an instant-charge battery which can be used for electric cars.
MXene won’t be commercially available or incorporated into current devices anytime soon. In fact, it will take around 3 years to do so. But when it is done, it will potentially disrupt everything we know about batteries and alleviate long charge times, battery and/or device deterioration, and more importantly, do away with systems that have short battery lives.