Last month Xiaomi previewed a new battery charging system called 200W HyperCharge that can take a 4000mAh battery from 0 to 100% in only eight minutes. However, no phone outside of the custom built Mi 11 made by Xiaomi supports HyperCharge at the moment. Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Cambridge have reportedly developed a new technology for lithium-ion batteries (the same kind used in smartphones) that has the potential to replenish power to 100% in only five minutes.
According to The Independent, this system is “low-cost” and works by figuring out the how to maximize charging cycles for batteries helping them to charge faster without creating any overheating. The research was led by Dr Ashkay Rao from Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory who said, “We found that there are different speed limits for lithium-ion batteries, depending on whether it’s charging or discharging.
Dr. Rao said that “When charging, the speed depends on how fast the lithium ions can pass through the particles of active material. When discharging, the speed depends on how fast the ions are inserted at the edges. If we can control these two mechanisms, it would enable lithium-ion batteries to charge much faster.”
To maximize the potential of lithium-ion batteries, which are typically slow to charge, Cambridge discovered a way to observe changes in the charge-discharge cycle and is looking at ways to increase the speed of the cycle. The report’s co-author, Dr Christoph Schnedermann from the Cavendish Laboratory, says, “This lab-based technique we’ve developed offers a huge change in technology speed so that we can keep up with the fast-moving inner workings of a battery.”
Dr. Schnedermann added, “The fact that we can actually see these phase boundaries charging in real time was really surprising. This technique could be an important piece of the puzzle in the development of next-generation batteries.”
We might some day be able to fully charge our phones in only five minutes. But that day is still not as close as we’d like it to be. Still, advancements in smartphone battery technology are being made on a slow but steady basis.