Student Accidentally Invents Phone Batteries That Last 400 Years


I got an Uber from Waterloo train station to the office today because I’m too hung over to walk and I was proud of myself for coming up with the idea of being picked up outside the Wellington pub because the driver couldn’t find me. Meanwhile, a student has made a scientific breakthrough and seems to be pretty chill about it.

Mya Le Thai is currently studying for her PhD at the University of California and, pretty much by accident, has stumbled upon a way to make phone batteries last 400 years.

The team she was part of were just trying to design better nanowires for normal rechargeable batteries when Mya made the discovery.

Reginald Penner, chair of UCI’s chemistry department, said:

Mya was playing around, and she coated this whole thing with a very thin gel layer and started to cycle it. She discovered that just by using this gel, she could cycle it hundreds of thousands of times without losing any capacity.

That was crazy, because these things typically die in dramatic fashion after 5,000 or 6,000 or 7,000 cycles at most.

Nanowires are very good conductors of electricity but are fragile and give way are several thousand uses. Mya managed to counteract that.

So it’s not like you’d only have to charge your phone once and then it last for 400 years or anything but, you know, it’s still cool. Basically, when you first got your phone, the battery was probably pretty good and you wondered why everyone had a go at iPhone batteries but, with time, it started declining to the point where you’re essentially using a glorified landline phone. With this new technology, that shouldn’t happen.

Mya said:

The coated electrode holds its shape much better, making it a more reliable option. This research proves that a nanowire-based battery electrode can have a long lifetime and that we can make these kinds of batteries a reality.

Here’s to hoping it becomes a thing as soon as possible.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Speaking of phones, here’s how to prove you have an iPhone 8…

Images via iStock and UCI

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