Researchers at the University of Adelaide say they have proven the concept of super absorption, a breakthrough in creating quantum battery technology.
Super absorption is a complex scientific theory that applies to quantum technologies. It’s a bit hard to get your head around, so I asked Dr. James Q. Quach, one of the researchers behind this concept, to give me an explanation.
He told Gizmodo Australia that it’s a quantum collective effect where transitions between the states of the molecules interfere constructively, in that the more particles that are there, the more light (or sound or waves on water) they can absorb. When acting together, molecules are able to absorb more than when they’re on their own.
“Quantum batteries, which use quantum mechanical principles to enhance their capabilities, require less charging time the bigger they get,” says Quach.
“It is theoretically possible that the charging power of quantum batteries increases faster than the size of the battery which could allow new ways to speed charging.”
The findings have been published in the journal Science Advances and were proven through a complex experiment. The team built small wafer-like microcavities in different sizes, each containing different amounts of organic molecules. They then charged each wafer-like microcavity with a laser.
“The active layer of the microcavity contains organic semiconductor materials that store energy. Underlying the super absorbing effect of the quantum batteries is the idea that all the molecules act collectively through a property known as quantum superposition,” added Quach.
“As the microcavity size increased and the number of molecules increased, the charging time decreased.”
Quach has labelled the finding a breakthrough. The concept could allow for significant steps forward in energy capture and storage, specifically in small electronic devices and renewable energy.
In short, this concept signifies a way batteries could absorb energy faster in the future. The university says the next step is a fully functioning quantum battery technology prototype.