An electronic ballasting device can boost the efficiency of an electronic device by up to 50 percent, according to a study published in Nature Communications on Wednesday.
The researchers say that the device, called a LIPO electron-lithium hybrid, could be used in electronic devices for things like batteries, computers and more.”LIPO is a relatively simple but efficient system that can be built on a single-chip package that is not only cheap but also fast,” said lead author Dr. David Cramer, a professor of physics at Princeton University.
“This type of device can be a cost-effective way to increase the efficiency and the range of applications that you can have.”LIPOs are used in high-temperature semiconductor technology, where they have an energy efficiency of between 50 and 100 percent.
They also are considered the most efficient semiconductor materials, but they are notoriously difficult to manufacture.
“The key to improving LIPOs is to make the semiconductor a high-conductivity material,” Cramer said.
“That is, the LIPOS is electrically conductive.”
Lipos, also called superconductors, are a new class of materials that combine a highly conductive layer of superconducting materials with a thinner, non-conductive layer.
When the superconductive materials are sandwiched between the conductive layers, they are able to conduct electricity at a much higher voltage than the conductivity alone.
That higher voltage enables LIPs to deliver a higher current than the superconductor itself, and they can do so much more efficiently.
“You can do a lot more with these materials, because they have a much lower coefficient of expansion,” said Cramer.
“When you have a lot of superconduits, they will work a lot better than when you have very few.”
Researchers are currently trying to find ways to make LIPo superconductivity.
But there are many challenges ahead.
The problem is that the superconnector must be electrically conducting.
“We’re looking for ways to increase that capacitance,” Cramer said.
If they can, they would be able to increase current density and the amount of current that could flow.
However, that would be a very large leap from the current limits that superconducted devices can deliver today.
To increase the energy density and to lower the capacitance, Cramer and his colleagues need to find better ways to work with the supercoils.
“If you can do it on the surface of a substrate, that’s the best place to go,” Crams said.
The surface of the substrate, they say, has a better surface tension than a conductor.
In addition, there are better ways of producing LIPos that have higher voltages, which are needed to make them more conductive.
“It is a huge step forward in a lot that we’ve done so far,” said co-author and Princeton professor of materials science and engineering Matthew A. Tapp.
“I am really excited about this work, but I am not sure that we’ll be able, until we figure out the right way to make these LIPoS.”
The study was conducted by a team of researchers led by Tapp and the Princeton University Center for Nanoscale Materials.
The work was funded by the National Science Foundation.