Monday, March 16, 2009

A New Spin on Battery Technology

This article discusses a revolutionary new battery technology that could greatly affect modern life. Researchers at the universities of Miami, Tokyo, and Tohoku have discovered a new type of battery. This new type of battery is charged by a very strong magnetic field. This field is called the Magnetic Tunnel Junction (MTJ) and it contains a set of nano-magnets that absorb energy and then release it over time. There were predictions made about how powerful and for how long this energy would last after being charged, but the predictions were way off. The voltage that the device produced was over a hundred times bigger than expected and for "tens of minutes", instead of the predicted milliseconds. If scientists can get to the bottom of the physics of how these batteries truly work, their uses can fit into many configurations. 
Another important thing about this new technology is that is "spin-polarized". What this means is that almost all of the electrons are spinning in one direction. This is big news because "spin logic" could work much faster and for much longer than even the best electronics made today. 
I think this would be a very important technology for the future of our society if we continue spending energy at the rate we are now. The government is taking steps to make everyday products more energy efficient, and if a technology like this can be perfected and made available for daily use, we would be able to cut down on wasted energy. From the way this article makes this technology sound, we aren't that far away from making this technology ready for mass production.

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