Phone makers have increased battery capacities over the last few years, but the rise of Full HD displays and other power hungry components means that battery life is still a daily concern for most of us.
If you can’t increase battery capacity, the next best option is to speed up the charging rate, and that’s exactly what Israel-based startup StoreDot is hoping to do.
StoreDot is developing a technology that could bring breakthroughs in battery design, but also in storage and display manufacturing. The startup is working with tiny particles of an organic material called peptides, which are molecules of amino acids, the building blocks of all life. (In fact, StoreDot’s research is based on discoveries made by scientists at the Tel Aviv University that were studying Alzheimer’s disease.) Peptides self-assemble in tiny spheres of about 2 nanometers in diameter that exhibit some remarkable properties, including the ability to store a lot of energy for a brief period.
StoreDot essentially found an affordable and efficient way to create organic quantum dots. You may already be familiar with quantum dots from Sony’s Triluminos technology present on the Xperia Z Ultra, Z1, and Z2, which allows the display to show richer color compared to regular LCD. But Sony’s inorganic quantum dots are toxic, expensive, and hard to manufacture. StoreDot doesn’t have the same drawbacks.
What StoreDot did is create a battery made of alternating layers of organic quantum dots and conventional lithium electrodes. Acting like a supercapacitor, the organic layers are able to store energy in as little as 30 seconds, and then slowly release it to the lithium layers. From there, the device draws the energy it needs from the lithium layers, just like on a regular battery.
Currently, the technology is limited in terms of capacity and size. A modified Galaxy S4 can charge in just 30 seconds, but the battery is the size of a laptop power adapter. However, StoreDot is confident that, in as little as three years, it will be able to create flash-charging batteries of capacities and sizes that are comparable to today’s conventional units. This will make it possible to charge our smartphones, tablets, or laptops in minutes, rather than hours. And the technology is not prohibitively expensive – StoreDot batteries would cost about twice the cost of a regular smartphone battery, which is currently $30.
News of breakthrough battery technologies surfaces regularly, but in most cases, commercial deployment is years away, if any timeline is given at all. We hope that’s not the case with StoreDot, which seems an extremely promising development. The company is currently looking for investors, and Samsung is rumored to have offered strategic funding in 2013.