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Crucial superabsorption breakthrough unlocks key to next-gen quantum batteries

By on February 13, 2022 0

Researchers from the University of Adelaide and their overseas partners have taken a key step towards making quantum batteries a reality. They successfully proved the concept of superabsorption, a crucial idea underlying quantum batteries.

“Quantum batteries, which use quantum mechanical principles to enhance their capabilities, take less time to charge as they get larger,” said Dr. James Q. Quach, who is a Ramsay Fellow at the School of Physical Sciences. and the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS), University of Adelaide.

“It’s theoretically possible that quantum battery charging power increases faster than battery size, which could enable new ways to speed up charging.”

To prove the concept of superabsorption, the team – who published their findings in the journal Scientists progress – builds several platelet-shaped microcavities of different sizes containing different numbers of organic molecules. Each was charged using a laser.

“The active layer of the microcavity contains organic semiconductor materials that store energy. The superabsorbent effect of quantum batteries is based on the idea that all molecules act collectively through a property known as quantum superposition,” said Dr Quach.

“It’s theoretically possible that quantum battery charging power increases faster than battery size, which could enable new ways to speed up charging.” – Dr. James Q. Quach

“As the size of the microcavity increased and the number of molecules increased, the charging time decreased.

“This is a significant breakthrough and marks a major milestone in quantum battery development.”

The quantum battery idea has the potential to have a significant impact on energy capture and storage in renewable energy and in miniature electronic devices.

By 2040, the energy consumed by people is expected to have increased by 28% compared to 2015 levels. The majority of energy will still come from fossil fuels at the expense of the environment. A battery capable of simultaneously harvesting and storing light energy would significantly reduce costs while reducing the unpredictability of energy from solar technologies.

A new perspective in battery technology, driven by the power of quantum mechanics, could become a reality by applying the team’s work.

“The concepts that Dr Quach and his team have been working on open up the possibility of a new class of compact and powerful energy storage devices,” said Professor Peter Veitch of the University of Adelaide, director of the School of Physical Sciences.

The next step is to develop a fully functional quantum battery prototype.

Reference: “Superabsorption in an Organic Microcavity: Towards a Quantum Battery” by James Q. Quach, Kirsty E. McGhee, Lucia Ganzer, Dominic M. Rouse, Brendon W. Lovett, Erik M. Gauger, Jonathan Keeling, Giulio Cerullo, David G. Lidzey and Tersilla Virgili, January 14, 2022, Scientists progress.
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abk3160