A new ‘quantum battery’ could charge devices in less than a second, making your uncharged phone a thing of the past.
The University of Adelaide’s newest Ramsay Fellow Dr James Quach is currently researching this new technology. His previous experience in quantum mechanics could help him turn this theory into reality.
He said that while ordinary batteries take the same amount of time to charge no matter how many you have, quantum batteries should charge faster in larger quantities.
“If one quantum battery takes one hour to charge, then two would take 30 minutes, three would take 20 minutes, and so on. If you had 10 thousand batteries, they would all charge in less than a second.”
While it may seem counterintuitive, this is possible due to a feature of quantum mechanics called entanglement.
“Quantum mechanics deals with interactions at the very smallest of scales, at the levels of atoms and molecules – at this level you get very special properties that violate the conventional laws of physics,” Dr Quach said.
“One of those properties is ‘entanglement’. When two objects are entangled it means that their individual properties are always shared – they somehow lose their sense of individuality.
“It’s because of entanglement that it becomes possible to speed up the battery charging process.”
The University of Adelaide green-lit this project in the hope that these quantum batteries could eventually replace their conventional counterparts in small devices such as mobile phones, watches and computers. However, these batteries require very specific conditions in order to be created.
“Entanglement is incredibly delicate, it requires very specific conditions – low temperatures and an isolated system – and when those conditions change the entanglement disappears,” said Dr Quach.
“With the support of the academic community in Adelaide, interstate and globally, I aim to extend the theory of the quantum battery, construct a lab conducive to the conditions needed for entanglement, and then build the first quantum battery.”
“The long-term aim is to scale up, to build bigger batteries which will support renewable energy technologies by making it possible for continuous energy supply no matter the weather conditions – rain, hail or shine,” Dr Quach says.