Flower-shaped nanoparticles, or “nanoflowers”, might lead to superior batteries in the near future. Chemist Gaoping Cao and colleagues report in the latest issue of Nano Letters that they are working on developing nanoflowers which could lead to longer battery life for cell phones, laptops, and more.
While nanoflowers are not new, Cao claims that previously discovered forms of the nanoparticle weren’t able to provide the longer battery life that will be necessary for electronics of the future.
In Cao’s study, scientists grew clusters of carbon nanotubes—each 50,000 times smaller than a strand of human hair—that have strong electrical conductivity. They then put manganese oxide on top of the nanotubes. The process resulted in dandelion-shaped nanoclusters that will ultimately lead to a battery system with a higher energy storage capacity, longer life, and greater efficiency that current batteries.
And while I would be happy to have a more self-sustaining laptop, perhaps the nanoflowers will have even more important uses— like keeping future plug-in hybrid vehicles running for longer.