Samsung breakthrough could almost double lithium battery capacity

by: Robert TriggsJune 26, 2015

samsung galaxy s5 gold back cover battery 2

Researchers at Samsung Electronics announced yesterday that they have developed a new technology to produce a silicon cathode material that coats Graphene onto a silicon surface for higher energy density. In other words, Samsung has found a way to almost double the capacity of lithium batteries, which are used to power smartphones and various other gadgets.

As I’m sure you’re aware, smartphone battery capacity has increased slightly over the last decade, but the technology remains limited by the physical size of gadgets and the limitations of the actual materials inside the battery. As we can’t make batteries any bigger, increases in raw capacity are needed, and researchers have been looking to new materials to find the solution.

This is where Samsung’s research comes in. The company has come up with a new coating method for battery cathodes, which overcomes the cycling performance and capacity limitations imposed by current implementations. The new process makes use of that excellent conductive material known as Graphene, which is grown directly onto the silicon coating surface without silicon carbide formation. If this sounds familiar, other groups in the US have been attempting similar ideas.

Samsung graphene growth on Si

Samsung’s researchers claim that its technique allows the full cell to reach volumetric energy densities of 972 and 700 Wh l−1 at first and 200th cycle respectively, when paired with a commercial lithium cobalt oxide cathode. This is around 1.8 and 1.5 times greater than commercialized lithium ion batteries, meaning more battery capacity for a given area. Typically, these type of designs reduce the battery’s life span due to more charge and discharge cycles, but this time the researchers also claim good cycling performance, due to its multi-layer design.

Samsung expects that its breakthrough will have important implications for both mobile devices and the electric car industry, which both really need additional battery capacity. However, like most new ideas, industry observers expect that the technology is at least two or three years away from commercialization.

  • Cuauhtemoc Sosa

    I think you meant “additional battery capacity” instead of “attentional”?
    Long wait, but still good news about these batteries.

  • Formhault

    Well… here’s for 2020 :)

  • flye

    Wow, 20 core cpu here we come!!!

    • Someguyouthere

      Yeah that’s the problem as The phones get more powerful the more juice they suck which kind of renders it pointless if however they could make new batteries that you can fit to older devices it could be a good thing

    • Ascertion

      And 8K resolution…for phones.

  • ePoch 270

    Li-Graph battery in my Note 7 will last 4 full days!

  • Choo Choo

    I wouldn’t mind a phone that was a little bigger, if the battery was bigger and the phone was faster and more powerful. This is about the phone manufacturers telling us what we want as apposed to giving us what we want. Takes me back to the 70’s when the American car
    manufacturers refused to make a small efficient car.

    • The-Sailor-Man

      I wouldn’t mind a same thin phone with same size battery, but double capacity. Do you?

      • This is what I want. The thought of the same size battery in my LG G3, but actually being 6,000mAh would be awesome

        • Btort

          too bad our battery life is just average

          • But it’s removable. Coming from a Nexus 5, which also had average battery life, I am more than willing to spend 5 seconds out of my day to swap out the battery and instantly be back to 100%

      • Fifth313ment

        How about a phone a little bit bigger and with twice the battery! Week charge anyone? Phones today are too thin!

        • Wishful thinking, you’d never get 1 week usage out of any battery powered device that has the same processing power as a phone

          • Carlos

            Uh, not wishful thinking, it’s fact. I have a Zerolemon 10,000mAh battery on my Note 4, the charge lasts give or take 3 days, with about 15~ hours Screen On Time. If Samsung just found a way to almost double the amount of energy in the same space, I’m now going to be able to get maybe 18,000mAh in the same sized battery, and have about 7-8~ more hours of Screen On Time usage, which is about 2 more days. that’s 5 days of no charging, but lets be honest, who isn’t going to be able to charge their phone at least once in 5 days? This find will be the end of dead phones

          • I own a Sony 20000mAh power bank. It takes up to 2 days to charge the batteries.

          • Clubber

            Not surprised. Even my little 3200 mAh battery pack takes 4.5 to 5 hours to charge.

            That’s because of the 0.8 amp input. Still really handy to carry around though if I need a charge in a pinch.

          • S.Yu

            Oh god and I thought my ZMI 10000mAh model is defected, it takes more than 24 hr to fully charge, this is totally unacceptable and I’ll find myself a fast charging model soon.

          • I have reservation in using fast charging. While it indicates full charge, sometimes I observe quick drain in the batteries.
            Anyway, my huge power bank is meant for long travel and occasionally in the room only.

          • S.Yu

            No I don’t think that has anything to do with fast charging. Some devices really do display 100% charge but still allow current into the battery, I’ve seen it in a couple of reviews, essentially it means that the battery just isn’t full when it is measured by the device.

          • My 18,000MAh battery pack takes only hours to charge. Have you thought about changing how you charge it? USB Cable and the outlet you use to charge it from all affect the charge rate.

            For instance, I use the Anker 60W 6-Port Family-Sized Desktop USB Charger to charge everything and only use Monoprice USB cables.

          • My 18,000MAh battery pack takes only hours to charge. Have you thought about changing how you charge it? USB Cable and the outlet you use to charge it from all affect the charge rate.

          • And now your Note 4 is the size of a cinder block

          • Papapau

            Nokia 5110.

        • Babs Oyed

          I prefer the phone razor thin and with 5 times the battery capacity.

      • Cenarl

        phones are already ridiculously thin, I would much rather have a few extra mm and 4x battery life.

      • No thanks, actually.

        Phones are already too small. It feels like I can just break them by glaring towards their direction. Give me a larger phone with a better battery that gives double capacity AND better heat-management.

    • Dis

      There’s a Chinese phone coming out soon with a 10,000 mAH battery. It’s pretty thick.

    • Lokesh Tharu

      Then put your money where your mouth is and actually get a Galaxy S6 Active (3300 mAh) or one of the many phones from non-mainstream manufacturers who make phones with 5000+ mAh batteries.
      Companies are not going to base their business decisions on opinions of vocal minorities. As long as people keep buying thinner and thinner phones, they will put their efforts in making them even more thinner.

  • jrod3737

    I’m sure Apple will find a way to sue them

    • Maxim∑

      actually Apple already has a patent similar to this and bought the company “Sakti” in March. Instead of Samsung’s approach of coating the cathode they use solid lithium electrodes.

      Believe it or not 2 companies can innovate at the same time! shocking right?

      Nice try though fanboy.

      • tomascooper

        LOL, of course Apple patented it. They already have patented multi-window which was available in samsung devices for 4 years now, and look, Apple has it in their iPads now. Why? cause they have a patent for that before the Sun or even Jesus was born.

        Apple even has a patent in using OLED screen for their iPhone 8 too. Believe it or not, they filed that patent before the Earth was even formed too. Shocking right?

        • jasonlowr

          maann, youre funny, but totally agree.

        • Maxim∑

          if you read a little deeper into all of those patents you’d see they’re patenting technologies UNDER those things. Apple can’t patent OLED because they didn’t create it…. (neither did Samsung) it was actually KODAK.

          Apple bought the freaking battery company, OF COURSE they acquired the patents with hit. wtf is the point of buying a company if you cant get there IP???

          Apple has 1 OLED patent btw which is for force touch, Apple Engineers INVENTED force touch. You’ll see qualcomm has one but its not the same thing if you READ IT.

          For future comments –


          • tomascooper

            Oh talking like a real professional in copy rights eh?

            the so-called force touch is just a fancy name of pressure sensitivity capacitive touch display. they patented the name not anything else. and btw the iphone 8 oled display i was talking about is oled curved display. they patented it a decade ago too i suppose?

          • Meanwhile …..

            Not directly related to Apple, but you sound like you are saying that it is weird to patent something a long time before using it in an actual shipping product? It’s kind of normal.

          • Steve jobs

            While we r making fun apple already patented bendable phones google it if u don’t believe me XD and technology is not even close to becoming a reality so if any manufacturer makes bendable device in future pay royalties to apple cuz they r innovaters XD APPLE fanboys won’t believe it but chinese android phone had fingerprint scanner months before iPhone had since many of seem to be using iPhone here is iPhone waterproof yet or reserved for future models

        • S.Yu

          I believe Jesus was born after the sun? lol

  • s2weden2000

    samsung shows how to do it (agajn) …

  • For me, the existing battery technology present in modern smartphones is good enough. I don’t mind if my coming Note5 will be slightly bigger in exchange for more spare power.
    Attention SAMSUNG!!
    Make my Note5 slightly thicker with at least 5000mAh removable battery.
    At least bring 2 models, one thin with smaller battery, and another one thicker with a bigger battery. Let’s see which is more popular.

    • jasonlowr

      nothing is good enough. Good enough= stay put= not improving= not being competitive= die.

      • JJK1107

        a la HTC

      • There are more ways to compete than just introducing better battery power. For instance, many people may want better heat-management, and just a bigger phone because smartphones as the size they are look like they’re going to break the moment you glare in their direction.

  • satsmine2k4

    Hope the S7 will have this tech crazy 5100mah battery in a 6.8mm thick body…

  • John Garlits

    They’re going to need it with how the S6 battery life has been.

    • Transient77

      I have an S6 Edge and the battery life is fine. I get over a day out of it with regular use, which is fine considering I charge it every night.

      I’m not sure what the people complaining about the battery life do. Maybe they crank up the brightness and then complain the battery is dying? Or maybe they don’t even have the phone, but want to complain about something they’ve never used.

      • John Garlits

        Stats from multiple professional reviews: pocketnow, mkbhd, etc. The battery life is below average in the current field of flagships. Samsung’s design choice. A lot about it is great, but I think they went too far with form and lost function. Glad yours works for you though.

        • S.Yu

          Below the average of which choice of flagships? It seems better than M9 and on par with G4 and that IMO is the current range of flagships, excluding iOS of course. I read Notebookcheck and Anandtech, their reviews are the most extensive so I almost don’t have to read any other review anymore.

  • The-Sailor-Man

    Samsung proves again , who is the man in the block

  • Sherpa

    As a Note 4 owner, I would love it if they released a version with 1080P screen. Not only would that give me more battery life with the current battery but it would increase the performance as well. Samsung thinks “the more is better” but how about we start with optimization first. On a 5.7″ screen, there is no need for a QHD or UHD screen.

    • Speak for yourself bro. I’d hate to have a 1080p screen

      • tomascooper

        Exactly. Especially after using my s6 edge. no way im going back to 1080.

      • Sherpa

        That’s why I said “if they released a version with 1080P screen”…as in give me an option.

    • I have a good advice for you. Go grab a Note3 in your nearest store.

      • Sherpa

        If Samsung can come out with 1000 phones every year, I’m sure they can come out with one with 1080P screen. Nothing wrong with wanting the latest processor, memory, etc. with a reasonable screen resolution. It’s not just about the screen. Otherwise, I would happily have bought a Note 3 instead of a Note 4.

        • Higher resolution than 1080p does not mean more power drain. There is power saving in the “nano technology” involved in the super-amoled Samsung is using. If you are experiencing unusual battery drain, it is contributed by some other factors.

          • Sherpa

            It always takes more power to drive 3,686,400 pixels than to drive 2,073,600 pixels.

          • Razzey

            It actually does mean more power drain. Your screen has to load almost double the pixels, which also hardens the processor’s and GPU’s work. All of these contribute to battery drain. Also in gaming, why do you think higher resolutions mean less performance?

          • High resolution gaming and video may take more power on the processor and GPU’s. But in the pixel loading – the pixel is getting smaller and using lower voltage per pixel. So I think on the gaming and high resolution videos where refreshing rate is higher may be an exceptional case because it requires the processors and GPU’s more work.
            But if you use the phone for basics like browsing, note taking, and others it must be just all-right.
            If you use the phone heavily on gaming and high res videos then it’s your choice, and you have to understand the consequences of your preference. But generally, it is unfair that you will drag others who love to have higher resolution screen.

    • S.Yu
      • Sherpa

        I have the same advice for you. Read that article.

        • S.Yu

          Then you know this 2k screen on S6 consumes less power than old 1080P screens and therefore no need at all to revert to 1080P for battery.

          • Sherpa

            Only if all pixels are black. Even a “not-so-true” black pixel consumes more power than regular LCD.

          • S.Yu

            You didn’t read the article. It’s the exact opposite, S6’s screen consumes less power compared to past models when on a high brightness!

  • gilahacker

    “As we can’t make batteries any bigger” – Yes, they can. They just need to quit making the phones so crazy-thin.

    • I can’t comprehend what is so important in a very thin phone? For me SAMSUNG provided all the beauty I can see in a phone until they introduced the S6. The removal of SDCARD, removable battery, removable plastic back cover – all contributed to aging process of Samsung beauty.

  • Cenarl

    I expect them to use these advantages to produce even thinner phones and still 1/2 day battery :)
    No battery life for you!

  • Ruturaj

    Never mind they will make even smaller battery with approx same backup (since processor efficiency will improve too, they can go for even more smaller battery) and put it in ever thinner phone. Don’t get your hope high for longer battery life.

  • Clubber

    Lol. It’s always several years away.

    Then several years later, you never hear about it again. Time and time again, I’ve seen this promise.

    • SamsaraGuru

      At the 1964 World’s Fair in NYC they were claiming that flat panel TV screens were right around the corner, which of course they were about 30 or 40 years later!

      • Clubber

        Hahaha. I like that response.

        Funny, witty, and a history lesson. All rolled into one.

  • cycad007

    There’s a group from MIT that’s already produced batteries that are twice as long. It appears Samsung’s method differs from theirs…but theirs appears to be the better technology (2x vs Samsung’s stated 1.6-1.8x improvement). The startup is called SolidEnergy and they are working with Google on Project Ara.

  • CabbyZ

    Bullshit pic, you can’t take the back off the S6. Fixing the battery (sort of) because you boned the new phone, really doesn’t count.

  • EKfine

    I guess samsung copied apple again.

  • TechGuy

    Has interesting possibilities for the Tesla and other electric vehicles.

  • icyhotonmynuts

    And we won’t see this technology until the Galaxy S9 amiright?

  • I have 18,000mAh battery packs. I’d rather just increase the size of the phone since there’s not a single modern smartphone that doesn’t feel like I couldn’t break it by simply glaring at its direction. Better battery capacity, larger more durable build, and better heating management? Yes, please!

  • HaroldTPennington

    ….Some time hit the androidauthority Find Here

  • Nathan Brown

    Allow us to buy it as a accessory. I wouldn’t mind paying £50 to get one. or if it is an embedded battery just let us trade in for a phone with the battery or send us the battery with a manual.

  • NBN

    Silicon as cathode? This is very strange. Even as anode it has a very poor durability (expands and contracts during charge and discharge cycles, and ultimately cracks) that coating hasn’t really solved. Good luck with that Samsung R&D team. Hope the recent safety concerns/ recalls with galaxy note 7 is unrelated to this.

  • bassel

    I am a Materials engineer and really got interested in what you wrote about batteries. I wanted to learn more about this topic. Is it possible to suggest some academic articles and journals regarding this topic?