Graphene sticker promises up to 20 percent more smartphone battery life
Battery life is a worry for pretty much anyone with a smartphone, which is why so much is being done to try and squeeze more juice out of our mobiles. A new graphene sticker called NanoSkin, to be launched at CES, promises to add up to 20 percent extra to your existing phone battery.
It works not by plugging into your phone's charging port but by keeping the back of the handset cool. That, the makers of the NanoSkin say, is enough to significantly reduce power drain, especially if you're doing something intensive like streaming video or playing games.
Of course we'll have to wait to get our hands on a sticker to test it out for ourselves, but the idea of squeezing out more battery life without any extra accessories, cases, power sources, or tweaks to the software sounds like an appealing one.
There are actually two products here. The NanoSticker is a small, oval-shaped sticker that fits on the back of pretty much any smartphone, and the NanoSkin is a made-to-measure backing for specific phones (like the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7), saving even more battery life.
A NanoCase is on the way too, a more traditional phone case design with the same graphene-based technology to dissipate heat and keep your handset cool.
It's no secret that warm temperatures can shorten the lifespan of a lithium-ion battery, and so anything that can keep temperatures low should help. The team behind the NanoSkin says factors like the type of phone you have, how you use it, and the average temperature in your part of the world will all have an influence on the effectiveness of these products.
The makers of NanoSkin point to recent research demonstrating how graphene can conduct heat effectively and cool down electronics, at least in a lab setting, carrying heat quickly and effectively away from other materials.
It's just one of many advantageous properties of graphene, a combination of carbon and graphite just one atom thick, and it's continuing to live up to its reputation as a wonder material: it's already improving electronics, strengthening helmets, and purifying water, as well as extending battery life.
However, not everyone's convinced that a graphene sticker or case can affect battery life to any great degree.
"My suspicion is that in a phone+sticker+air system like that, thermal dissipation is controlled by interface resistance more than by the intrinsic high thermal conductivity of graphene," UC Davis chemistry professor Dr. Davide Donadio told New Atlas.
"More specifically, the main bottleneck in my opinion is the graphene-air thermal resistance. I am a bit skeptical that the sticker will make much of a difference."
We've contacted the makers of NanoSkin for more details and will aim to run our own tests to see if their claims stand up. In the meantime, NanoStickers can be picked up now for £11.61 (about US$14) each, with NanoSkins starting at £17.37 (about $21).
Product page: NanoSkin