According to the journal Nature Nanotechnology reports, Paul Braun's group at Illinois developed the nanostructure for battery cathodes that allows for dramatically faster charging and discharging without sacrificing energy storage capacity.
With is new design, batteries that can store a lot of energy, release it fast and recharge quickly.
"This system that we have gives you capacitor-like power with battery-like energy," said Braun, professor of materials science and engineering at Illinois.
"Most capacitors store very little energy. They can release it very fast, but they can't hold much. Most batteries store a reasonably large amount of energy, but they can't provide or receive energy rapidly. This does both."
The performance of typical lithium-ion (Li-ion) or nickel metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries degrades significantly when they are rapidly charged or discharged.
Making the active material in the battery a thin film allows for very fast charging and discharging, but reduces the capacity to nearly zero because the active material lacks volume to store energy.
They have demonstrated battery electrodes that can charge or discharge in a few seconds, 10 to 100 times faster than equivalent bulk electrodes, yet can perform normally in existing devices.
The nanostructure would also charge high power lasers and defibrillators, required in surgeries, without loss of time between pulses and bring down the time for charging electrical vehicle from half a day to few minutes.