Mobile technology is increasing in power exponentially, but battery tech isn’t keeping up. We’re reaching the physical limits of what conventional lithium-ion and lithium-polymer designs can do. The solution might be something called a solid-state battery.
What’s A Solid-State Battery?
In a conventional battery design—most commonly lithium-ion—two solid metal electrodes are used with a liquid lithium salt acting as an electrolyte. Ionic particles move from one electrode (the cathode) to the other (the anode) as the battery charges, and in reverse as it discharges. The liquid lithium salt electrolyte is the medium that allows that movement. If you’ve ever seen a battery corrode or get punctured, the “battery acid” that oozes (or sometimes explodes) out is the liquid electrolyte.
In a solid-state battery, both the positive and negative electrodes and the electrolyte between them are solid pieces of metal, alloy, or some other synthetic material. The term “solid-state” might remind you of SSD data drives, and that’s not a coincidence. Solid-state storage drives use flash memory, which doesn’t move, as opposed to a standard hard drive, which stores data on a spinning magnetic disc powered by a tiny motor.