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Nanocables may improve lithium batteries

  |   Feb. 12, 2009 at 11:02 AM
HOUSTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say they have created hybrid carbon nanotube metal oxide arrays as electrode material to improve the performance of lithium batteries.

Rice University researchers led by Professor Pulickel Ajayan said they conducted proof-of-concept research in which they grew nanotubes to look and act as the coaxial conducting lines used in cables. The coax tubes consist of a manganese oxide shell and a highly conductive nanotube core.

"We've put in two materials -- the nanotube, which is highly electrically conducting and can also absorb lithium, and the manganese oxide, which has very high capacity, but poor electrical conductivity," said Arava Leela Mohana Reddy, a Rice researcher.

Combined, the nanobute has the ability to hold and transmit power efficiently. The researchers said they expect the number of charge/discharge cycles such batteries can handle to be greatly enhanced, even with a larger capacity.

"Although the combination of these materials has been studied as a composite electrode by several research groups, it's the coaxial cable design of these materials that offers improved performance as electrodes for lithium batteries," said Ajayan.

The project that included Manikoth Shaijumon and Sanketh Gowda is reported in the online version of the journal Nano Letters.

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