A research team at Australia’s University of Adelaide recently announced that it is working on a battery technology that could theoretically charge up mobile devices within seconds. The team, which is led by a quantum physicist Dr. James Quach, aims to start the development of their first prototype battery within the next six months.
Even as the conventional lithium-ion battery technology reaches a highly mature stage, the battery market remains receptive to new innovations based on various fields of scientific research. The team at the University of Adelaide is pursuing the development of “quantum battery,” which is radically different from the existing energy storage technologies. As its name suggests, a quantum battery is based on quantum mechanics – a field in physics that deals with the interactions of molecules and atoms. Quach said that the application of quantum mechanics on battery development was first mentioned in a research paper published in 2013.
Specifically, the theory of “quantum entanglement” presents an opportunity to create a battery that can be fully charged within seconds. When two particles (that can be at levels ranged from the subatomic to the molecular) are in the state of quantum entanglement, their properties are basically indistinguishable from one another even if they are separated by a distance. The particles will share attributes including position, momentum, spin, and polarization. They in effect becomes a quantum system, where actions performed on one particle will affect the other. The link or the communication mechanism between the entangled particles has yet to be discovered, and one of the great physicists Albert Einstein called this phenomenon “spooky action at a distance.”
Quach therefore believes that quantum batteries that operate according to this theory can be integrated together to reduce their individual charging periods. For instance, one quantum battery may require one hour to charge up; however, two of them together may need just 30 minutes for both to become fully charged, and three of them may take just 20 minutes. Under this assumption, all 10,000 quantum batteries together may become fully charged in less than a second.
Using mobile devices such as smartphones will become even more convenient in the future once quantum batteries or similar technologies are made available to the consumers. Many everyday hassles would disappear if a smartphone with a nearly empty battery can be fully charged just as it is connected to the power supply. With a quantum battery, a smartphone that is running out of power late in the evening would not need to be plugged into the USB power port or wall socket all night long. Also, there would be no need for a power bank that could weigh down one’s pocket or bag. A person who is traveling outside could use the free charging ports now offered by many venues to sustain mobile devices featuring the instant charge technology.
Quach’s team nevertheless concedes that the road to the commercialization of the quantum battery technology is very long and difficult. Achieving quantum entanglement requires low temperatures and an “isolated system,” so the phenomenon will not occur if these conditions do not already exist. Therefore, the research team will first need to address the environmental challenges over the next six months before starting to build the world’s first quantum battery.
(This article is an English translation of news content provided by EnergyTrend’s media partner TechNews. The credit of the photo goes to Pixabay.)