Researchers at Drexel University in Philadelphia ave reported that they have developed a new material, called MXene, which will allow batteries to be charged in seconds rather than hours.

MXene is a near-2D nanomaterial which combines an oxide-metal ‘sandwich’ with hydrogel to create a structure that is extremely conductive but still lets ions move freely as the battery builds up a charge.

The MXene material was discovered by researchers in Drexel’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering in 2011. Since then, researchers have been testing it in a variety of applications from energy storage to electromagnetic radiation shielding and water filtering. This latest development is significant because it addresses one of the primary problems hindering the expansion of the electric vehicle market as well as having great potential for mobile devices.

One of the researchers, Dr Maria Lukatskaya, explained that “In traditional batteries and supercapacitors, ions have a tortuous path toward charge storage ports, which not only slows down everything, but it also creates a situation where very few ions actually reach their destination at fast charging rates. The ideal electrode architecture would be something like ions moving to the ports via multi-lane, high-speed ‘highways,’ instead of taking single-lane roads. Our macroporous electrode design achieves this goal, which allows for rapid charging — on the order of a few seconds or less.”