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Graphene: A New Era of Smartphone Batteries

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Gabriela Patrón
ByPor Gabriela Patrón

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Modern smartphones can perform a number of tasks, like shooting video and taking photos, surfing the web, and working as a music console. But all of these functions consume use a lot of battery power, and many users get frustrated by mobile phones that last only a few hours per charge. 

As such, large smartphone companies are looking for solutions. Lithium batteries are currently used, which charge super quickly; in just 30%, they reach 80% of their full charge. However, this type of charge tends to kill the life of the battery, which–additionally– is only available for the most expensive devices.  Samsung is looking to change this situation, using a new battery material: graphene.

The material of the future 

Graphene is a substance made of pure carbon, with atoms organized in a regular hexagonal pattern, similar to graphite. It’s a nearly transparent, very light material, a million times finer than a human hair. One layer of the atom is 100 – 300x more resistant than steel. Its density is similar to that of carbon fiber, and is 5x lighter than aluminum. 

This material has been known since 1930; but it didn’t become popular, due to the fact that it was thought to be thermally unstable and could melt with temperature changes. It was only recently, in 2004, that the supermaterial became more relevant. This occurred thanks to scientists, Andre Geim and Kotsya Novoselov from Manchester University, who for the first time created a graphene layer. Their experiment was so impactful that, in 2010, it earned them a Nobel Prize in Physics. In modern day, hundreds of scientists and engineers worldwide look to take advantage of this supermaterial’s versatility for different applications in the tech industry. 

How can graphene be used?

This material can be used in smartphone batteries, since it offers 45% more energy capacity than a lithium battery of the same density. On top of this is the charging speed, which is up to times faster than the current one. With this, we could have tech devices that completely charge in less than 15 minutes. 

Its use is also predicted in screen and processors. Due to the fact that graphene is clear and moldable, it could be used to create new, flexible and rollable, OLED panels. Processors created with this material are expected to be 1000x faster than current models. Also, they will avoid the overheating typical to overuse. 

In 2013, the European Union began investigating this supermaterial’s possible uses in science and technology. Thus was created the project, Graphene Flagship, which grants a budget of one thousand million Euros to the most promising proposals. Until today, there have been many studies that look for graphene’s use in better brain function, and also its use in quantum computing

It’s worth remembering that the graphene industry is still under investigation, and doesn’t yet have the same power as copper or silicon.  However, there’s no doubt that, thanks to this material, the next decade will see exponential and revolutionary leaps for the tech world.