Engineering a battery fast enough to make recharging like refueling

Layers of phosphorene sheets form black carbon.

Enlarge / Layers of
phosphorene sheets form black carbon. (credit:
Wikimedia Commons
)

Right now, electric vehicles are limited by the range that their
batteries allow. That’s because recharging the vehicles, even under
ideal situations, can’t be done as quickly as refueling an internal
combustion vehicle. So far, most of the effort on extending the
range has been focused on increasing a battery’s capacity. But it
could be just as effective to create a battery that can charge much
more quickly, making a recharge as fast and simple as filling your
tank.

There are no shortage of ideas about how this might be arranged,
but a paper published earlier this week in Science suggests an
unusual way that it might be accomplished: using a material called
black phosphorus, which forms atom-thick sheets with lithium-sized
channels in it. On its own, black phosphorus isn’t a great material
for batteries, but a Chinese-US team has figured out how to
manipulate it so it works much better. Even if black phosphorus
doesn’t end up working out as a battery material, the paper
provides some insight into the logic and process of developing
batteries.

Paint it black

So, what is black phosphorus? The easiest way to understand it
is by comparisons to graphite, a material that’s already in use as
an electrode for lithium-ion batteries. Graphite is a form of
carbon that’s just a large collection of graphene sheets layered on
top of each other. Graphene, in turn, is a sheet formed by an
enormous molecule formed by carbon atoms bonded to each other, with
the carbons arranged in a hexagonal pattern. In the same way, black
phosphorus is composed of many layered sheets of an atom-thick
material called phosphorene.

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
Engineering a battery fast enough to make recharging like
refueling