Researchers have figured out how to improve the performance of rechargeable batteries, which could lead to faster recharging devices.
The researchers added large positively charged metal atoms into the batteries to improve their charge storage.
The research could lead to lighter, cheaper and safer batteries, including for electric vehicles.
'Developing new materials holds the key to lighter, cheaper and safer batteries, including for electric vehicles which will help cut carbon emissions,' said Professor Saiful Islam, co-author of the study and professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Bath"
Normal rechargeable batteries use the metal lithium because it's light can store store a lot of energy.
Conventional lithium ion batteries contain two electrodes - one made from lithium (a light and one from carbon - submerged in a liquid or paste called an electrolyte.
This send electrons that were attached to the ions through a circuit which then powers the device.
When a battery is being charged up, ions - or positively charged atoms - flow from the lithium electrode to the carbon one. When a battery is discharging, the ions flow the other way.
New research published in the journal Nature Communications has found that using positively charged potassium ions inside batteries increases electrical conductivity, helping the lithium ions move faster, improving the charging ability of the batteries.
Professor Saiful Islam, co-author of the study and professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Bath, said:
'Understanding these processes is important for the future design and development of battery materials, and could lead to faster charging batteries that will benefit consumers and industry.
'Developing new materials holds the key to lighter, cheaper and safer batteries, including for electric vehicles which will help cut carbon emissions.'
Professor Isam, alongside Professor Reza Shahbazian-Yassar at the University of Illinois at Chicago and other researchers, used a combination of structural experiments and computer simulations to understand why adding charged potassium ions into tunnel-like structures of batteries has a strong beneficial effect on the battery performance.