RESEARCHERS at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have found titanium dioxide nanotubes could be the basis of next-generation batteries.
The titanium dioxide nanotubes, according to Tijana Rajh and battery expert Christopher Johnson, can switch their phase as a battery is cycled, gradually boosting their operational capacity.
As the battery cycled through several charges and discharges, its internal structure began to orient itself in a way that dramatically improved the battery's performance.
This is a clear reversal of current battery technologies where batteries deteriorate with time.
Laboratory tests showed that new batteries produced with this material could be recharged up to half of their original capacity in less than 30 seconds.
One of the other researchers in Rajh's group, Sanja Tepavcevic, has adopted a similar approach to make a self-improving structure for a sodium-ion nanobattery.
According to the scientists, by further investigating the nano materials’ behaviours, it maybe possible to unlock mysteries of materials that are used in electrical energy storage systems.
Having anodes composed of titanium dioxide instead of graphite also improves the reliability and safety of lithium-ion batteries. In certain cases, lithium can work its way out of solution and deposit on the graphite anodes, causing a dangerous chain reaction known as thermal runaway.