Now, engineers at Cornell University have developed an unusual new structure that intertwines the components together in a swirling shape, which they say lets the device recharge in a matter of seconds.
The Cornell team's new battery architecture is based on a complex, porous shape known as a gyroid, which has previously been used to make the most of the 2D wonder material graphene. The new battery also used thin films of carbon (although not thin enough to become graphene), built into a gyroidal shape using a process known as block co-polymer self-assembly.
This carbon gyroid forms the anode of the battery, and contains thousands of pores each about 40 nanometers wide. These pores were then coated with a separator layer about 10 nanometers thick, and then a sulfur cathode was added. The final ingredient to fill up the last bit of those pores is an electronically-conducting polymer called PEDOT.