Nanowire battery

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A nanowire battery uses nanowires to increase the surface area of one or both of its electrodes. Two designs, variations of the lithium-ion battery have been announced, although neither is commercially available. Both replace the traditional graphite anode. Both could potentially improve battery performance.


One design uses a stainless steel anode covered in silicon nanowires. Silicon stores ten times more lithium than graphite, offering increased energy density. The large surface area increases the anode's power density, allowing for fast charging and high current delivery. The anode was invented at Stanford University in 2007.

Silicon anodes had been dismissed because they tended to crack and become unusable, because it swelled by 400% intercalating lithium during charging.

In September 2010, researchers demonstrated 250 charge cycles maintaining above 80 percent of initial storage capacity.[1]

Commercialization was originally expected to occur in 2012,[2] but was later deferred to 2014.[3]

A related company, Amprius, shipped a related device with silicon and other materials in 2013.[3]

Canonical announced on July 22, 2013, that its Ubuntu Edge smartphone would contain a silicon-anode lithium-ion battery.[4]


An anode using germanium nanowire was claimed to have the ability to increase the energy density and cycle durability of lithium-ion batteries. Like silicon, germanium expands during charging and disintegrates after a small number of cycles.[5]

The anodes were claimed to retain capacities of 900 mAh/g after 1100 cycles, even at discharge rates of 20–100C. This performance was attributed to a restructuring of the nanowires that occurs within the first 100 cycles to form a mechanically robust, continuously porous network. Once formed, the restructured anode loses only 0.01% of capacity per cycle thereafter.[6]

In 2014, researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology developed a simple way to produce nanowires of germanium from an aqueous solution.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Garthwaite, Josie (September 15, 2010). "Amprius: Building a Better Battery, from the Anode Up". Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  2. ^ Lyle (December 21, 2007). "Interview with Dr. Cui, Inventor of Silicon Nanowire Lithium-ion Battery Breakthrough". Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  3. ^ a b Newman, Jared (2013-05-23). "Amprius Begins Shipping a Better Smartphone Battery |". Retrieved 2013-06-04. 
  4. ^ "Ubuntu Edge". July 22, 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-22. 
  5. ^ Mon, 02/10/2014 - 1:09pm. "Researchers make breakthrough in battery technology". Retrieved 2014-04-27. 
  6. ^ Kennedy, T.; Mullane, E.; Geaney, H.; Osiak, M.; o’Dwyer, C.; Ryan, K. M. (2014). "High-Performance Germanium Nanowire-Based Lithium-Ion Battery Anodes Extending over 1000 Cycles Through in Situ Formation of a Continuous Porous Network". Nano Letters 14 (2): 716–23. doi:10.1021/nl403979s. PMID 24417719.  edit
  7. ^ Simpler process to grow germanium nanowires could improve lithium-ion batteries, Missouri S&T, 28 August 2014, Andrew Careaga

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