Today, most of the smartphone batteries and other devices that are powered by a rechargeable battery aren't all that great because they lose capacity over thousands of changes. Researchers at UC Irvine have built a battery that substituted a gold nanowire in electrolyte gel for the lithium. The result? The battery lose barely five percent battery capacity over 200,000 charge cycles.
Don't Miss: Nintendo Switch: Everything You Need To Know
The rub? No one is really sure how it works.
The researchers were actually looking for an alternative to lithium, whose liquid state conducts the charge, but has a few problems, including being combustible and sensitive to temperature. Nanowires have been in the discussions of tech geeks for years because their high surface area holds a lot of charge, but the wire corrodes in traditional lithium environments after several thousand cycles, according to Popular Science.
The researchers discovered they were able to prevent that corrosion while messing around with the different materials. They coated the gold nanowire they were using in manganese dioxide and swapped the lithium for an electrolyte gel. The gel and oxide fuse to form a protective covering of the wire, and the experimental battery was able to through hundreds of thousands of cycles over a period of three months without detectable degradation.
Of course, this is also an expensive change, so that would need to be considered as well. They haven't tested it yet, but they theorize that nickel could be a good substitute.