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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Science Note/Salt-Sized Batteries

Air Date: Week of January 28, 2011

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Researchers at UCLA are designing a nano-battery, no bigger than a grain of salt. Living on Earth’s Jessica Ilyse Smith explains how this new technology could lighten our electronic load.

Transcript

[SCIENCE NOTE THEME]

SMITH: Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles are thinking big by building small. They’re developing nano-batteries, the largest of which will be no bigger than a grain of salt.

They will be tiny compared with the traditional ion batteries powering today’s laptops and smart phones, but they’ll pack the same punch. To make them, researchers carefully spray the surfaces of nano-wires with conductive material, which enable the flow of energy between electrodes.

Scientists hope their work will create batteries to power electronic gadgets of the future. Shrinking the batteries will lighten the load of electronic devices, making them easier to carry. Their light weight is one reason why the military is funding this study.

Researchers expect to have a complete prototype in three years, but consumers will have to wait a bit longer before high-tech devices with nano-batteries are available commercially. At any rate, you can say UCLA scientists are leading the charge. That’s this week’s note on emerging science, I’m Jessica Ilyse Smith.

 

 

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