Microbatteries presented from the University of Illinois

The portable electronics revolution is riding on the miniaturization of electronics (chips and other components) but it also requires batteries to power these devices. Batteries have been falling behind while other components are innovating and optimizing to become smaller and increase performance.

News out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this week announced microbatteries. “The new microbatteries out-power even the best supercapacitors and could drive new applications in radio communications and compact electronics.”


The graphic illustrates a high power battery technology from the University of Illinois.  Ions flow between three-dimensional micro-electrodes in a lithium ion battery.

The big development with this research is that the battery can offer a lot of power in a quick burst or a low trickle of energy.

The batteries owe their high performance to their internal three-dimensional microstructure. Batteries have two key components: the anode (minus side) and cathode (plus side). Building on a novel fast-charging cathode design by materials science and engineering professor Paul Braun’s group, King and Pikul developed a matching anode and then developed a new way to integrate the two components at the microscale to make a complete battery with superior performance.

With so much power, the batteries could enable sensors or radio signals that broadcast 30 times farther, or devices 30 times smaller. The batteries are rechargeable and can charge 1,000 times faster than competing technologies – imagine juicing up a credit-card-thin phone in less than a second. In addition to consumer electronics, medical devices, lasers, sensors and other applications could see leaps forward in technology with such power sources available.

Read the full article to learn more about the microbatteries.