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New breakthrough could let us charge smartphones in as little as 60 seconds

New breakthrough could let us charge smartphones in as little as 60 seconds

Supercapacitor technology could charge our devices instantly.

Imagine needing just a minute to charge your nearest devices. Sound too good to be true?

Well, researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder may have just brought us a step closer to this reality.

Their breakthrough in understanding ion behaviour in supercapacitors could bring a whole new meaning to 'super fast charging'.

The research could pave the way for a supercapacitor that can charge iPhones and laptops in just 60 seconds and electric vehicles (EV) in 10 minutes.

Supercapacitors were known to charge electronics lightning-fast however, the problem lies within their energy storage.

Traditional lithium-ion batteries can store significantly more energy, allowing for slower but longer use.

Onur Binay/Unsplash
Onur Binay/Unsplash

Engineer and lead author of the study, Ankur Gupta, believes he and his team have found a key to overcoming this limitation - a technology that was known about but impossible to achieve.

The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, focused on how charged particles (ions) move within supercapacitors. This movement is key to unlocking the long-awaited potential of supercapacitors for high-density energy storage.

Kirchoff's Law, a defining principle in electrical current theory, establishes that voltage must move in specific loops.

'The primary appeal of supercapacitors lies in their speed,' read a press release from the university.

'So how can we make their charging and release of energy faster? By the more efficient movement of ions.'

The unique behaviour of supercapacitors offers a way to bypass the limitations of Kirchoff's Law and achieve much faster energy transfer.

'That’s the leap of the work,' said Gupta. 'We found the missing link.'

risharp / Getty
risharp / Getty

The study lead explained that this could hold immense promise for ‘the future of the planet’.

While further research needs to be done before their findings can be worked into next-gen energy storage devices, it already concurs with previous studies from the University of Central Florida in 2016.

Their research focused on a flexible supercapacitor that could fully charge an iPhone in 60 seconds using advanced two-dimensional materials wrapped around nanometre-thick wires.

As a result, they achieved high energy and power densities as well as rapid charging and discharging cycles.

The best part is the compatible devices can withstand up to 30,000 charge cycles without degradation, far exceeding the 1,500 cycles seen within lithium-ion batteries.

Outside of personal electronics, Japanese automotive manufacturers have confirmed they’re all working on next-gen combustion engines which could change the future of transportation as we know it.

Featured Image Credit: risharp / Priscila Zambotto / Getty