The scientists of Center for Theoretical Physics of Com Systemscomplexes of the Institute of Basic Sciences (IBS) have explored in depth the possibilities of quantum batteries. With them you can greatly speed up the charging process doing so all cells within it simultaneously and collectively. Using a global operation, in which all cells can “talk” to each other, a quadratic scale in charging speed is achieved. The charging time at a linked point in the home would spend from 10 hours to about 3 minutes and at a high-speed charging station, from 30 minutes to a few seconds.
Sooner or later, it will be necessary to resort to the use of renewable energy, whether they are currently used as photovoltaic solar, wind or nuclear energy itself. It is an unavoidable consequence considering humanity’s ever-increasing energy demands and the finite nature of fossil fuels. The research and R&D programs carried out to develop alternative energy sources use, practically the majority of them, electricity as the main energy vector. The most striking change in the current industry is the development of electric vehicles, one of the fastest growing markets in recent years.
Electric vehicles rely on batteries for power. For a long time these have had a much lower energy density than hydrocarbons, which resulted in very low autonomies. However, the improvement of its technology has allowed ranges similar to those of combustion vehicles. Overcoming this bottleneck has been the key to launching the current electric car revolution.
However, this energy density is not enough, because drivers face another fundamental handicap: charging speed. On a related point, today an electric car can take all night to charge or even longer. But even in today’s ultra-fast charging stations, the time required is still between 20 and 40 minutesmuch longer than refueling.
Quantum batteries and recharging in seconds
To address this problem, scientists have sought answers in the mysterious field of quantum physics and the discovery that these technologies promise new mechanisms for charging batteries at a much faster rate. This concept of “quantum battery” was first proposed in an article published by Alicki and Fannes in 2012. It was theorized that quantum resources such as entanglement can be used to greatly speed up the battery charging process by doing all the cells within it simultaneously and collectively.
Modern high-capacity batteries can contain numerous cells. However, such collective charging is not possible in classic batteries, where cells are charged in parallel and independently of each other. The advantage of this collective versus parallel charge can be measured by the relationship called “quantum charge advantage”.
Around the year 2017, it was discovered that there may be two ways to take advantage of this quantum advantage. The ‘global operation’in which all cells talk to all the others simultaneously (i.e. “all sitting at one table”) and the ‘full coupling’in which each cell can talk only to the one next to it (ie “lots of discussions, but each discussion has only two participants”).
Recently, scientists from the Center for Theoretical Physics of Complex Systems of the Institute of Basic Sciences (IBS) further explored these possibilities and their findings were published in the journal Physical Review Letters. There it is shown that total coupling is irrelevant in quantum batteries and that it is through global operations How is the advantage of quantum charging achieved? The task force went even further to identify the exact source of this advantage while ruling out any other possibility and even providing an explicit way to design such batteries.
Additionally, the group was able to accurately quantify the charging speed that can be achieved with this scheme. In classic batteries, the maximum charging rate increases linearly with the number of cells. However, the study showed that quantum batteries employing global operation can achieve a quadratic scale in loading speed.
To put this conclusion into context, consider a typical electric vehicle with a battery containing around 200 cells. Using quantum charging, it would be possible to speed up the process 200 times with respect to classic batteries (all cells are charged at the same time), which means that the charging time at a linked point in the home goes from 10 hours to about 3 minutes. At high-speed charging stations, the charging time would be reduced from 30 minutes to a few seconds.
The researchers say the consequences of bringing this way of charging quantum batteries to life could be far-reaching, with implications reaching far beyond electric vehicles and consumer electronics. For example, applications may be found in future fusion power plants, which require large amounts of energy to charge and discharge in an instant.
Of course, quantum technologies they are still in diapers and they still have a long way to go before these methods can be implemented in practice. However, research findings such as these create a promising direction and may incentivize funding agencies and companies to invest more in these technologies.
In summary, quantum batteries would completely revolutionize the way we use energy and bring us one step closer to our sustainable future.