Nanotechnology Researchers Turn Pieces of Copper into Batteries
Imagine being able to charge all your hand-held devices by storing them in your jacket.
Nanotechnology has long been of interest in both science and science fiction, appearing in classics such as "Star Trek," in which the Borg used nanotechnology in order to assimilate individuals into their collective, the "Stargate" television series, in which replicators were composed of thousands of nanobots, and more recently, the television show "Revolution," in which (spoiler!) a worldwide blackout was caused by manipulation of nanotechnology.
Now, nanotechnology may be used in real life in order to transmit energy in lieu of batteries. Researcher Jayan Thomas and his team at the University of Central Florida are paving the way in nanotechnological research. They have devised a way to both store and transmit energy in a single lightweight copper by creating a thin layer of nano-whiskers outside surrounding it, and treating it with an electrode alloy that is further sealed with a thin layer of plastic.
"It's a very interesting idea," Thomas said. "When we did it and started talking about it, everyone we talked to said, 'Hmm, never thought of that.' It's unique."
This technology might just make battery-use a thing of the past, which would have huge implications for technology as we know it. By economizing that battery space, all technology— from small hand-held devices, to automobiles, to space travel vehicles— would become more portable and efficient.
Once he tackles this technology using copper wire, Thomas hopes to work on applying it to a myriad of different fibers- expanding the possibilities of energy storage in clothing and devices. According to Thomas, "if flexible solar cells and these fibers were used in tandem to make a jacket, it could be used independently to power electronic gadgets and other devices."
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