Researchers from The University of Cambridge have identified that niobium tungsten oxides could be used to create electrodes which charge faster than the batteries in use today. The researchers tested two different niobium tungsten dioxides – Nb16W5O55 and Nb18W16O93, which possess crystallographic shear and bronze-like structures, respectively.

It should be noted that batteries produced using niobium tungsten oxide electrodes do not possess a higher energy density, but the lithium ions move through the crystal lattice at several orders of magnitude quicker than conventional electrode materials. This means that while they may not provide a longer-lasting use, they could charge much quicker.

Battery electrodes is one area of technology that is not getting smaller. Whilst it is impractical to create batteries from much smaller materials (such as nanoparticles), the ability to charge in minutes is something that is of interest to the technology world. With the use of a material that can provide a rapid migration of lithium ions under charge, it could bring the realisation of batteries with an ultra-fast charging rate. Still, many safety tests and long-term studies are required before this will come to fruition, but any advancement is an incremental stepping stone to eventually realising their use.

Source: Nature