Christopher Bielawski, a brilliant mind working at the University of Texas at Austin, had this to say about his newest discovery: "I would love it if my iPhone was thinner and lighter, and the battery lasted a month or even a week instead of a day; with an organic battery, it may be possible." Anyone that has ever owned an iPhone
(or a smartphone or any sort, really) can grok just how bold those words are, but according to Mr. Bielawski, "we're now starting to get a handle on the fundamental chemistry needed to make this dream a commercial reality." At the center of this potential revolution is a newfangled organic battery
recently detailed in the journal Science
, but just as important is the artificial photosynthesis that the research also touches on. Bielawski and colleague Jonathan Sessler have seemingly figured out how to create an electron transfer process that can proceed in the opposite direction, with this forward and backward switching of electron flow opening up new avenues for the historically stagnant battery innovation market. Granted, these guys have yet to demonstrate that the process can occur in a condensed phase, so actual commercialization is probably a
millennium or two out, but hey -- at least our list of "awesome thing that'll probably never happen" has grown by one.