Next-gen rechargeable batteries would power up faster

Posted November 28, 2009 7:28 a.m. EST

New technology could shorten the time your rechargeable batteries need to get that boost and increase usefulness of battery-powered gadgets.

Anyone who carries around electronics -- a cell phone, a PDA, a laptop - if familiar with the regular downtime required while those things recharge.

Newer batteries cut that charge time to almost nothing.

In a lithium-ion battery, positively charged ions move across the battery to create a current. It is a slow process, because positive ions need a clear path to move from one side to another.

It's like a highway. The fewer on-ramps there are, the more likely you'll get stuck on side streets. But adding more on-ramps reduces that congestion - and traffic moves much faster.

The new batteries have a special surface coating that provides additional pathways. It could reduce charging time to almost zero. The battery in an electric car could fully charge in a matter of minutes. A laptop battery would take mere seconds.