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Self-charging battery might put the fear of your phone dying to sleep

It is a common frustration that, despite the technological achievements of mankind, smartphones’ batteries still last less than a day before needing charging. Smartphone owners have to either wait at home for their device to charge or go out and risk their battery dying.

However, scientists are trying to develop a phone battery that runs off solar power, according to the Telegraph. This would mean that, in the future, phones might be able to recharge themselves or, at the very least, have their lifespan dramatically increased.

Solar-powered external chargers that plug into a phone already exist. However, scientists at McGill University in Montreal and Hydro-Quebec managed to find a way to incorporate life-harvesting materials into the built-in battery. They were able to simulate the charging process using solar power by adding molecules with a photosensitive dye to the cathode. Tests proved it was possible to generate a small amount of power from these molecules, according to the findings in Nature Communications.


What is left is for the scientists to develop an appropriate anode. If they success, the first self-charging lithium-ion battery will have been created. “Theoretically speaking, our goal is to develop a new hybrid solar-battery system, but depending on the power it can generate when we miniaturize it, we can imagine applications for portable devices such as phones,” said Hydro-Quebec’s Andrea Paolella, who led the study.

Other smartphone components, such as processors and displays, were greatly improved in the past years. The technology in batteries hasn’t changed much, the only substantial advance being that phones got bigger, allowing them to fit higher-capacity batteries.

Daisy Wilder