Future of Batteries

Over decades, we have seen a lot of improvements in almost all forms of technologies, one of the most noticeable part, which has no change since so long is “energy storage device” called “battery”. If you look at the technological industry, all developments are being done to use the energy contained in the batteries efficiently. But on the market we didn’t experience any change, when it comes to batteries, only the components that use batteries are made efficient towards energy consumption.

If new technologies rise, which can make energy storage better, then we don’t have to compromise on other components in a device due to batteries. For example the size of the device increase due to batteries, explosions of the batteries  can be avoided if the batteries won’t contain liquid in it(like, we use lithium, which explodes when moisture comes in contact).

Battery is that which stores chemical charge and converts it into electricity. Every battery has a cathode(+), anode(-) and an electrolyte. Cathode wants electrons, anode gives electrons and an electrolyte is that which helps ions to move between anode and cathode. This flow of electrons create electricity. Over the years we have found various ways of creating and storing electricity, like electricity from a lemon, banana etc… Most of those works on the above concept.

▪      A lot of research is being done on this particular topic, but most of those alternatives don’t have sufficient potential to get commercialized. Few alternatives that can be expected on the market soon are:

▪      Graphene  Super-capacitors.

▪      Solid state batteries.

Before getting into Graphene super-Capacitor, let’s see what are super capacitors and  capacitor s are!

Capacitors:

▪      Basically a capacitor charges and discharges quickly. A basic capacitor usually consists of two metal plates, separated by an insulator (like air or a plastic film). During charging, electrons accumulate on one conductor and depart from the other. One side gains a negative charge while the other side builds a positive one. The insulator disturbs the natural pull of the negative charge towards the positive one, and that tension creates an electric field. Once electrons are given a path to the other side, discharge occurs.

Super capacitor:

▪      Supercapacitors also contain two metal plates, two electrodes are coated with a porous material known as activated carbon. They are immersed in an electrolyte made of positive and negative ions dissolved in a solvent. One plate is positive and the other is negative. During charging, ions from the electrolyte accumulate on the surface of each carbon-coated plate. Supercapacitors also store energy in an electric field that is formed between two oppositely charged particles, only they have the electrolyte in which an equal number of positive and negative ions is uniformly dispersed. Thus, during charging, each electrode ends up having two layers of charge coating (electric double-layer).

Graphene supercapacitor:

▪      Graphene is a thin layer of pure carbon, tightly packed and bonded together in a hexagonal honeycomb lattice. It is widely regarded as a “wonder material” because, it is the thinnest compound known to man at one atom thick, as well as the best known conductor. It also has amazing strength and light absorption traits and is even considered ecologically friendly and sustainable as carbon is widespread in nature and part of the human body.

▪      It is often suggested as a replacement for activated carbon in supercapacitors, in part due to its high relative surface area, which is even more substantial than that of activated carbon. The surface area is one of the limitations of capacitance and a higher surface area means a better electrostatic charge storage. In addition, graphene based supercapacitors will utilize its lightweight nature, elastic properties and mechanical strength.

▪      Graphene  Super-capacitor  has advantages of both Li-ion battery and a capacitor. Fast charging of a capacitor and the slow discharging of a battery can be obtained in a super-capacitor.

Solid state super capacitor:

▪      Almost all the batteries we use have a liquid or a gel in them. Now, when it comes to solid state batteries, the liquid or the gel portion is replaced with a solid. This can avoid battery explosions completely.

▪      The main difference between Li-ion batteries and solid state batteries is that the former uses a liquid electrolytic solution to regulate the flow of current, while solid-state batteries opt for a solid electrolyte. A battery’s electrolyte is a conductive chemical mixture that allows the flow of current between the anode and cathode.

How Solid state super capacitor works?

▪      solid state batteries use redox reactions to store and deliver energy. Oxidation occurs at the anode, reduction occurs at the cathode and the battery is able to use this phenomenon to store energy (charge) and release it (discharge) as necessary. During discharge, ions travel through an ion-conductive solid matrix instead of the ionic salt saturated solvent state of typical liquid electrolytes.

▪      Solid state electrolytes are fast ion conductors solids that allow ions to move freely throughout the solids crystalline matrix. Fast ion conductors are best thought of as a material that lies between crystalline solids that possess a regular structure with fixed ions and structure-less liquid electrolytes with freely flowing ions. Solid electrolytes often come in the form of gels, glasses and crystals with novel internal structures. In solid state batteries, solid electrolytes must meet a combination of high ionic conductivity, low internal resistance and high electronic resistance. The higher the ionic conductivity is the better the power density and the lower the internal resistance of the battery. The better insulating the solid electrolyte is to electrons, the lower the self-discharge rate and the higher the charge retention. Choice of solid electrolyte depends on the chemistry of the battery, and the ions available for conduction. In the case of lithium ion solid state batteries, a solid electrolyte like LiI/Al2O3 is an excellent Li+ conductor.

 

Commercial use:

The concept of solid state batteries are around for so long now, but the technology is still in research grounds.

Many technological industries are working in this new technology. It was old that, samsung is working on this.

There is a company called Sakti3 in Michigan, exclusively working on solid state batteries. A British electronics giant Dyson invested millions of dollars on Sakti3. Not only that, so many other companies also showed interest and invested millions of dollars. This clearly shows how important  this  could become.

 

▪    So, with this I conclude that, very soon we might see a change in the way we treat and use technology interms of energy consumption. The graphene super-capacitors and solid state batteries are not the only ways to  achieve these advantages, there are plenty of technologies under research. In my view these two are the closest to the market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solar Panel! How does it work?

“Energy”, one of the most important necessities worldwide. There are a lot of ways to generate energy, creating energy through sun is termed as “Solar energy”. To generate energy from sun we use solar cells, solar modules and solar panels, and what are all these different terms? Well… Solar cells are often bundled together to make larger units called solar modules, and solar modules coupled into even bigger units known as solar panels. When the sun light falls on a solar cell, electric energy is generated!

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Firstly solar panels harness solar energy from the sun in individual solar cells. The energy is then transferred to an inverter which converts it to electricity, suitable for use in your home.

A semiconductor material such as silicon absorbs particles of light when the sun shines on the photovoltaic cells (PV cells) within solar panels. Particles of electricity (electrons) which are negatively charged, begin to flow through the solar cells in a single direction, which means that a current is created. The solar panels are constructed from a series of interconnected cells.

Is it that simple? Well.. Actually a lot is happening inside the solar panel, that is what we are gonna see now.

Solar cell is made of? Solar cell is a sandwich of two different layers of silicon. Why silicon?? To know why, first we need to understand a few terms. Conductors: These conductors conduct electricity.. Insulators: Other materials, such as plastics, wood etc… Don’t really conduct electricity at all.. Those materials are called insulators. Now Semiconductors like silicon are neither conductors nor insulators, they only conduct electricity under certain circumstances. Those are the circumstances we are interested in, now.

This silicon is actually specially doped, That is the “circumstance” we need to let electricity flow through them in a particular way. The lower layer is doped such that it has very few electrons. It’s called p-type or positive-type silicon, Why positive? Because electrons are negatively charged and this layer has too few of them. The upper layer is doped in the opposite way to give it slightly too many electrons. It’s called n-type or negative type silicon.

Now, if  light (made of photos) falls on the solar panel, that is on the silicon cell with a sufficient amount of energy to knock out the electron from its bond. A hole is formed. And as the electron is negatively charged, the electron goes to the n-side and the hole goes to the p-side. These freely moving electrons are collected, through which an external circuit is powered…

The power generated through these solar panels is DC (Direct current). Our homes run on AC, not on DC power. The inverter changes DC to AC or alternating current.

Each silicon cell can generate only half a watt of power, which is very less.. But when, these solar cells are combined to form a solar module, the power generated is high. It is even higher in the case of a solar panel. And there is nothing wasted in a solar cell except the never ending energy emitted by the sun, so these solar panels can sustain for decades.

There is a lot of “clean” and infinite energy coming from the sun, if we could be able to make use of it, there won’t be any energy crisis anytime soon.

Light bulbs! History and science…

Now, let’s see the history and science behind “light bulbs”!

The first ever electric light was invented by a chemist Humphry Davy, called “arc lamp” named for the bright arc of light emitted between its two carbon rods.. Later on, incandescent light bulbs with a carbon rod in a nitrogen filled glass cylinder were invented by Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans. They sold their patent rights to Thomas Edison in 1879.

The first practical and more efficient incandescent light bulbs were invented by Edison. Edison and his team discovered a carbonized bamboo filament that could burn for more than 1,200 hours. Bamboo was used for the filaments in Edison’s bulbs and later on tungsten was used.

After that we had neon bulbs, fluorescent lamps, LEDs and so on..

History is done! let’s talk science…

When a light bulb is connected to an electric power supply, an electric current flows from one metal contact to the other. As the current travels through the wires and the filament, the filament heats up to the point where it begins to emit photons, which are small packets of visible light.

Fluorescent lamps
They work by ionizing mercury vapor in a glass tube. This causes electrons in the gas to emit photons at UV frequencies. The UV light is converted into standard visible light using a phosphor coating on the inside of the tube. The white coating we see on a tube light is actually the white phosphor coating from the inside.. 
LEDs
The basic thing a semiconductor does is, it allows current to pass through it only one way. Semiconductor has two layers, first layer has exited electrons in it and the other has holes with more kinda relaxed state. When electrons are passed through first layer and enter the second layer, the electrons release some energy as light. As the name suggests light emitting diode.
The invention of light bulb is one of the significant revolutionary inventions of all time.
INFORMATIC COOL STUFF!

GLOWING PLANTS!

Ever thought of trees glowing? Maybe now you should.. So, technical name for these type of plants is Bioluminescent plant. The first bioluminescent plant was made in 1986, with the addition of firefly luciferine.

There are a few species like jelly fish, fireflies etc.. On our planet that can glow. To make the glowing plants, the team first uses the Genome Compiler software to identify a plant’s DNA. The software then custom prints the sequence and then inserted into a plant.

The main sequence responsible for making the plant glow is known as luciferase (it can also be found in fireflies). Unlike the previously made Bioluminescent plants, where the plants aren’t so bright,  now scientists have been able to get the gene to recycle itself and make the plant especially bright.

Scientists say that the intensity of the light emitted by these Bioluminescent plants isn’t that high to replace streetlights. Hopefully someday we replace our street lights and table lamps with Bioluminescent plants.

Live forever “Frozen”(Cryonics)!

We have seen so many weird to the weirdest things in science, but I think nothing can be so weird than this. Basically cryogenics is the study of something in cold, but CRYONICS on the other hand is the study of some living thing kept in cold.

Cryonics is actually a process of preserving the human body in an extremely low temperatures, hoping that some day, science could be able to bring them back to life ( Technically called reanimation). “Hoping??” Yeah, this isn’t perfect yet, as of now scientists have only found the way to preserve the human body, but science has yet to improve further to bring the preserved human back to life!

You may ask, why on earth people want to live frozen forever? Well… The people with un-curable diseases hoping that science one day finds a cure or people just curious about future may end up preserving themselves through cryonics.

Now, let’s see what happens here rather how it happens. Once the person is dead, the cryonics team inject some antifreeze to protect the tissues from freezing because. The main problem here is our cells are full of water and when we freeze the body cells may freeze, when liquid freezes they expand so, there is a chance of breaking the cell membrane in this process. Then the body is cooled rapidly and finally kept in a liquid nitrogen container for too long.

It may take a few years or even decades to find a way to reanimate the human body (bringing the human back to life).

Science fiction is no more a fiction!!

 

 

Misconceptions about tides! What really causes tides?

Many people get it wrong about the reason for gravity of moon and sun responsible for tides. Now, let me ask you something, why don’t we see tides in a lake? And why don’t we see sand and rocks levitate, Due to the Gravity of moon and sun?

Let’s see what actually cause tides. When you are in an accelerating bus( technically in an accelerating frame or non-inertial frame), what ever may be the mass of the object, they  experience force while bus turns, in a direction opposite to the turn. This force is similar to the Tidal force experienced by earth.

Here, what ever may be the mass of the object on earth, they should move out of the surface of earth. But that’s not happening here, all the objects aren’t moving out. The tidal force isn’t acting only on the moon-earth line, because if that was the case ( tidal force acting along the moon earth line), we should see the lakes, ponds, rocks, you and me raising, but we aren’t. And the tidal acceleration due to the gravity of moon along the earth moon line is 1/10,000,000th gravity of earth, so it is not possible for this tiny force to lift something on earth. But that tides are real here!!!!

Then, what is really causing tides???

Until now, we only have considered forces on the earth-moon line. Now consider the forces acting on some other points on earth, the resultant of the forces at that point, i.e., the TIDAL force at that point is observed to be radially downward. By mapping the direction of tidal force at various points on earth, it looks something like the image down below. With the image below, it is clear that, this force is not lifting or stretching but getting SQUEEZED.

2000px-Field_tidal.svg

From an unknown source on the internet, I have read that this phenomenon is similar to that of squeezing a pimple;);) So true.. This makes it easy to answer my above question “Why do lakes don’t have tides?”. Well… You got it, they are like small pimples, hard to blast:);). They have a smaller surface area and have tiny microscopic tides, which can’t be seen. By the way, the similar is the case with sun. The Sun is very far from earth yet with a huge mass. So,according to the position of the sun, earth and moon the bigger and smaller tides are formed!

Let me know, what you think!

What’s Encryption? And what’s Quantum Cryptography?

Encryption is simply taking some information that makes sense and scrambling it into some mess, so that no one can open it without a specified key. In reality, many websites on the internet contain some of our secret and sensitive information( like credit card info and even messages), to protect these we use Encryption.

So, how do they manage to protect our information?

Well.. The information is first turned into some other sequence or into bits, then we use something called KEY, to protect our information.

This key is like, multiplying every bit of the code with a certain prime number or something else. This makes it difficult to crack. Because, its easy to know the multiplication of two prime numbers. But, its pretty tough to tell the two prime numbers with which the number or the output bit is obtained.

And for encryption, we don’t use small primes, we actually use bigger prime numbers. It may take years to find the factors for that number by a human. But the machine(computer) created by the human is super fast and can find the key faster than you expect, of course that damn tough to do so.

Now, let’s see what “Quantum Cryptography” is?

Encryption is done purely based on mathematics. When it comes to highest level of protection, “Quantum Cryptography” comes into picture. Unlike encryption, Quantum Cryptography uses physics. In Quantum Cryptography, the information is hidden in Photons(light particles).

The key here is  a stream of photons travelling in one direction, with each of these photon particles representing a single bit of data (either a 0 or 1). All of these photons are oscillating (vibrating) in any 360-degree range across any conceivable axis, let the  oscillations be grouped into 4 particular states: UP/DOWN, LEFT/RIGHT, UPLEFT/RIGHTDOWN and UPRIGHT/LEFTDOWN.UPRIGHT/LEFTDOWN. The angle of this vibration is known as the polarization of the photon.

A polarizer is that which simplifies a filter that permits certain photons to pass through it with the same oscillation as before and lets others pass through in a changed state of oscillation.

Now, let’s see how a key is made. Let  “A” sends oscillating photos may be UP/DOWN, LEFT/RIGHT, UPLEFT/RIGHTDOWN and UPRIGHT/LEFTDOWN. The receiver “B” uses two types of polarizers ( Diagonal and Horizontal/vertical) for each photon, to polarize and ends up with an information waiting for a confirmation by the sender “A” about the polarizer “B” used, that is, Diagonal or Horizontal/vertical polarizer.

Because, a Diagonal polarizer won’t polarize a Horizontally polarized photon, that is, there is a 50% chance of 1 and 50% chance of 0. Finally once the sender “A” confirms the polarizer used for each bit, the wrongly guessed combinations are thrown out and the correct key is obtained.

Using Quantum Cryptography as of now is very tough. This was practically practised in IBM lab.

 

 

Self cleaning NANO textiles! How it works?

Before getting into all the magical stuff behind nanotechnology, let’s see what actually nanotechnology is. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, smaller than the wavelength of visible light and a hundred-thousandth the width of a human hair, this says how tiny nanomaterials are.. In nanotechnology we deal with matter in nanoscale.

In nanotechnology we will be able to control individual atoms, which means we will be able to move atoms and molecules to specific places. Something like the GIF shown below.

Source-Internet

 

 

Scientists created some special nanostructures which can degrade organic matter when exposed to light  directly onto textiles. The work paves the way towards nano-enhanced textiles that can spontaneously clean themselves of stains and grime simply by being put under a light bulb or worn out in the sun. Research Lab at RMIT worked with copper and silver-based nanostructures, which are known for their ability to absorb visible light.

When the nanostructures are exposed to light, they receive an energy boost that creates hot electrons. These hot electrons release a burst of energy that enables the nanostructures to degrade organic matter.

Approach was to grow the nanostructures directly onto the textiles by dipping them into a few solutions, resulting in the development of stable nanostructures within 30 minutes.

Nanotechnology has a vast scope and plenty of advantages, this article was just a glimpse of what nanotechnology is capable of..

 

What is Internet of Things?

Internet of things is all about objects connecting to the internet. A decade ago, maybe we only have one device connected to the internet, but now we have a plenty of devices like computer, smartphone, tablet, smart watches, cars, TVs, also more advanced home equipment so called smart homes, connected to the internet which work hand in hand.

Internet of things is growing rapidly, if you are following the CES 2016 going on right now, there are so many Internet of things related stuff going on like the Smart refrigerators, which is connected to the internet and notifies us with more useful stuff going on in the refrigerator and many more.

This is like, when you enter your smart home using an app sitting on your smart phone, your smart home senses everything you are up to, like the temperature outside, your schedule through your calendar, your mood etc and acts accordingly.

In near future Artificial Intelligence may further increase it’s reach and help us making suggestions!! For example, In automobile industry, vehicles can predict Absolutely anything with the use of Artificial Intelligence.

Is Artificial Intelligence really necessary? “Smart( indirectly AI)”, why do we like this word so much? Why are we more worried about this particular field this much? We are experiencing more and more revolutionary things, When can we expect an Evolution of new ones, in this field? Maybe a substitute to the Internet?;)

 

How we see 3D??

A stereo image is basically a 3D image. We have seen a lot of “virtual reality headsets” in 2015( Learn more about VR here, I have a bunch of articles on VR Google VR, VR vs Hologram, Best apps for Cardboard VR, How to make a cardboard VR DIY). If we look at the phones screen without the VR set, the image we see is a stereo image. The image below is a stereo image.

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When we look at an object, both of our eyes looks at the same object. Two set of images are formed, one with each eye. Then our brain manipulates and merges both images to give us a 3D view.

So, now we get an idea on how we see in 3d. Then how do we see 3D video on a 2D screen??

Well.. The basic requirement to see in 3d is to have two images one for each eye. To do this on a 2d screen, we may project a stereoscopic view( the image above is a stereo image) and separate each eyes view.

This sounds great, but doesn’t work in a movie theatre with many people.

To overcome this problem, we started overlapping the image. Ok, now how those two overlapped images are separated for each eye?

Here comes the Polarised glasses. Both the overlapped images on the screen are polarized in a different way, each lens on the glasses are used to match the respective polarization. There we go, we have one image for each eye. But if we look at the image without glasses, the image looks something like this;)

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This is how we experience 3D:)

 

 

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