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Nano 'Beads on a String' Could Advance Battery Technology
Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries use graphite as an electrode in the battery. Silicon can store up to ten times more lithium ions than graphite, but silicon structures tended to crack or break when used over and over. University of Maryland researchers have designed a beaded silicon structure for batteries that can last through more charging cycles than previous designs. To make the beads, the research team attached part of a molecule sometimes found in food flavorings along carbon tubes under 50nm. They then flooded the space with a gas containing silicon, and the organic molecule caused beads of silicon to grow on the tube. The team charged the silicon with lithium ions and watched the tiny electrode in action under electron microscopes. As the beads were charged by the lithium, they grew and shrank without cracking or ripping.
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