Samsung Electronics succeeded in the development of innovative technology that will rock the world market with batteries after semiconductors. Using 'graphene', which is called 'a dream new material,' the Korean electronics giant made a material that can increase batteries’ capacities 45% and make battery charging speed more than five times faster than now.
The Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) announced on November 27 that the research center succeeded in developing a 'graphene ball,' a material for batteries via joint research with Samsung SDI and a team led by Choi Jang-wook, a professor of chemistry and biological engineering at Seoul National University. Graphene is thin carbon film removed from graphite which is 100 times more conductive than copper and capable of moving electrons more than 140 times faster than silicon. The material is taking center stage as a new material for batteries and displays thanks to its high physical and chemical stability.
Samsung found a way to apply graphene to batteries. The company discovered a mechanism for the mass synthesis of two-dimensional graphene into three-dimensional solid forms like popcorns by using inexpensive silica (SiO2 and a chemical compound of silicon and oxygen). The use of this graphene ball as cathode protection and cathode materials for popularized lithium ion batteries increases charging capacities and cuts back on charging time, Samsung explained.
It takes about an hour to fully charge current batteries even through fast charging technology. Their explosion risk is high if battery temperature rises above 45 degrees. However, a graphene ball-based battery can be fully charged in 12 minutes. In addition, a graphene ball-based battery can maintain its stability even if its temperature hits 60 degrees, which is a temperature safety standard required by batteries for electric vehicles. "Samsung Electronics’s development of the graphene ball is meaningful as a synthesis and coating technology that complements battery structures. It is expected that it will take about five years to produce the finished product," said an official in the battery industry.
The results of this research are published under the title of “Realizing Fast Charging and High-Capacity Lithium-ion Batteries Based on Graphene Ball” in Nature Communications, an online edition of well-known scientific journal Nature. The Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology also filed two patents for graphene ball technology in the US and Korea.
Samsung Electronics began developing innovative battery materials in order to overcome the limitations of lithium-ion batteries. Since the first commercialization of lithium-ion batteries in 1991, they have been applied to mobile devices and electric cars with the growth of the market but they have faced limitations in performance improvements. Increasing their capacities is not easy and their charging time still stands at more than an hour. Currently, various attempts are being made to improve the performance of lithium ion batteries.
For example, Samsung SDI unwrapped a high-energy-density 600-kilometer battery cell based on 20-minute fast charging technology at 2017 Detroit Motor Show early this year. The company developed a lithium-ion battery that can enable electric vehicles to run 600km on one full charge. The battery can fill up 80% of its capacity in 20 minutes by way of quick charge so empower a car to run 500km. The innovative battery is expected to roll out staring in 2021 as a product that can solve the limitations of driving distances of electric cars and drivers’ anxiety at once.