Light used to drive battery power safely

27th July 2015
Siobhan O'Gorman

To move the world toward sustainability, scientists are continuing to explore ways to use the power of sunlight to make fuels and generate electricity. Now scientists have developed a way in which to use light to drive battery power safely. The battery, reported in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C, uses light and titanium nitride for the anode.

Metal-ion batteries such as those based on lithium ions power the majority of personal electronic devices. However, these batteries take a long time to charge and can overheat and catch fire if they are damaged. These problems are often related to the unstable material used for the anode, the negative side of the battery. A team led by Dr. Musthafa Ottakam Thotiyl, of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, wanted to address this.

The researchers developed a battery with a titanium nitride photoanode that is highly stable and safer than conventional options. Under normal indoor lighting, it discharged electric current and recharged within 30 seconds without an external power source. The ‘photo battery’ worked for more than 100 cycles and could power an LED.

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