Carbon nanotubes are kind of like peanuts. They both seem pretty simple at first glance, but with a little work, you can make pretty much anything out of 'em. Take this case, for example, as MIT boffins have discovered that by forming the tube-shaped molecules of pure carbon into minuscule springs, they could be "capable of storing as much energy, pound for pound, as lithium-ion batteries." The real kicker is exactly how they'd do it -- "more durably and reliably." Essentially, these newfangled cells could be left alone for years on end without losing their charge, and unlike conventional batteries, these wouldn't suffer from performance degradation when exposed to temperature extremes. Of course, anything as pie-in-the-sky as this is probably at least a decade or so out from Walmart shelves, but considering that the group responsible has already filed a patent, we'd say they're pretty confident in the possibilities.

[Via Physorg]

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