Vanadium nanobeams could help solve the overheating problem in slim devices
Consumers may not always understand the trade-off between battery life and slimmer products. So, while they would want extra juice in their devices so that they run all day, they would be tempted by sleeker-looking products. Trying to marry battery life with a slimmer design is what leads to overheating, as companies try to cram more into a single device. Consider this—while in the early 2000s, a phone would have just a chip with limited storage, battery, receiver, speaker and an antenna, these days, it would come equipped with a GPS chip, more battery capacity, an iris-scanner, two cameras, a fingerprint reader and much more. Thanks to the overheating, explosions shook the brand value of top-billed makers in the last couple of years. But now a team of scientists has discovered a new way to deliver buffed-out hardware and longer battery life while also ensuring there is no overheating. According to a study published in Science, scientists at the Berkeley Lab have been able to synthesize a form of vanadium, a good conductor of electricity, but a poor conductor of heat.
While vanadium is not new to the game—Nasa has been using this in its products—the vanadium oxide nanobeams developed at the Berkeley Lab are certainly a disruptive entrant. While it can be used for home-based equipment, it can transform the way we look at computing and ultra-portable devices. Given most cellphones and laptops face overheating issues and require fans and heat-sinks that take up much space, this can eliminate the need for these systems, making the devices thinner and better in the long run.
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