Wired UK points to a group of Stanford researchers who have created what they call “self-healing” batteries–that is, batteries that can withstand long-term use without any adverse effects to their life.
The silicon in ordinary Lithium ion batteries cracks after repeated charges, which cause it to expand and contract, until it eventually can no longer hold a charge. According to Wired, the team at Stanford came up with a surprisingly low-tech-sounding solution: covering the Silicon electrode in a “a stretchy polymer coating” that heals cracks.
There’s still work to be done, though: Stanford professor Yi Cui says the team would like to get to 500 recharges on a smartphone and 3,000 on an electric car without damage being done to the battery. So far, they’ve gotten to 100.