Scientists Look Towards Ferroelectric Transistors for Instant-On Notebook Technologies

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Date: Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, 08:45
Category: battery, News

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Researchers have apparently developed a technology that could allow notebooks to wake up instantly from shut-down states without draining battery life, as is commonly seen today.
According to Macworld UK, researchers have built ferroelectric material (which is usually found on smartcards) onto silicon, which could allow certain transistors to retain information after power is shut off. Scientists from Pennsylvania State University, Cornell University and Northwestern University are involved in the project.
The new findings could save users time by instantly booting laptops to an active and ready state when shut down.
“It would be instant-on, meaning as soon as the power comes back on, your computer would be in exactly the same state it was when you turned it off and ready for action,” said Darrell Schlom, principal investigator and professor at the department of materials science and engineering at Pennsylvania State University.
Quick-boot capabilities are enabled in Notebooks and most mobile devices, though many are unable to recreate shutdown states. As a result, notebooks usually never reboot back to their shutdown state, unless they are in sleep mode, which drains battery power. In essence, ferroelectric materials could wake up laptops from sleep mode, but without drawing any battery power.
The research could pave the way for a new generation of lower-power, higher-speed memory devices, Schlom said. For notebook users, it could reduce the time to load an OS from storage devices like hard drives. The ferroelectric material could also retain data in case power is lost.
The research itself revolves around building ferroelectric transistors, which are capable of retaining data in any electric state, onto hybrid transistors.
The researchers took strontium titanate, a variant of the ferroelectric material used in smartcards, and deposited it on silicon, putting it in a state where it could retain information even when power is off. The new findings cut the intervening layers that made it difficult to put the material on silicon.
Typically when power is turned off, voltages disappear from transistors, which have to be recreated when power is turned on. To recreate them, the relevant information is loaded from nonvolatile storage mediums like hard drives, which takes time. The ferroelectric transistors retain magnetization when the electric field is turned off, allowing it to retain data.
The technology will load operating systems differently from existing memory technologies like DRAM and storage technologies like hard drives and solid-state drives, Schlom said. Ferroelectric transistors conceptually differ in the way data is loaded and retained, Schlom said.
Benefits of ferroelectric transistors were first realized in 1955 by scientists at Bell Labs, Schlom said. Though the recent findings are a major step ahead, additional research is needed to build an actual ferroelectric transistor to make instant-on computing a reality, Schlom said.
He couldn’t provide a timeline for when such transistors would be built.
The researchers also include scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Motorola and Intel. The research is funded by the National Science Foundation and the US government.

QuickerTek Releases External Battery/Charger for MacBook Air Notebook

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Date: Tuesday, April 14th, 2009, 07:38
Category: Accessory, battery, MacBook Air

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Accessory provider QuickerTek announced the release of a new external battery/charger for Apple’s MacBook Air notebook on Tuesday. The external unit powers the pack while simultaneously charging the internal battery and QuickerTek has cited 12 to 16 hours of run time or about 6 to 10 extra hours of power. According to MacNN, the charger is also said to charge the internal battery in only three hours.
The unit measure 7″ x 3.5″ and is housed in a machined aluminum case with an anodized finish. QuickerTek claims the cells are capable of up to 1,000 full recharges.
The MacBook Air external batter can be purchased for US$349.95 but customers must also have a QuickerTek-modified MagSafe adapter, available for US$100. An existing MagSafe adapter can be converted for US$25.

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Another Bulging MacBook Pro Battery

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Date: Wednesday, September 5th, 2007, 00:27
Category: battery

Here’s another picture of a bulged MacBook Pro battery from PowerPage reader “Abe.”

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I called Apple on Monday and got a replacement with a pre-paid airbill for the return today. Zero problem with them on the phone. Once I told them what had happened he did not even ask any questions. Said a new one is on the way. That makes me think there have been many and that they’d rather keep it quiet. Anyway, these pics on the old and the replacement should give you an idea of how much it expanded. It measures more and a quarter of an inch of expansion right in the middle.

Three more pics after the jump…

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Flexible, Biodegradable Battery Technology Revealed

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Date: Tuesday, August 14th, 2007, 08:53
Category: battery

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As much as you convince yourself that you’re living in the future, or at least a pretty sophisticated present, the batteries say otherwise. Open up an iPhone or MacBook and you’re greeted by a fairly large battery that occupies space and adds to the device’s weight.
This may be about to change, as new research is suggesting that carbon nanotube technologies may be the key to implementing flexible batteries and supercapacitors capable of shrinking down devices even further.
According to Ars Technica, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnica Institute and MIT have developed a new material that can eliminate several of the old constraints within a battery, especially where the need to create two electrode layers and two charge-holding layers with an insulating layer in the middle and the lack of flexibility this historically provides.
Click the jump for the full story…

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FreshBattery Introduces “Legacy” Battery Line

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Date: Wednesday, August 8th, 2007, 08:15
Category: battery

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On Tuesday, FreshBattery announced a new Legacy line of batteries. The units are designed to provide batteries for laptop models that have been discontinued for three to five years, including older PowerBooks and iBooks.
According to Macworld News, the company claims that the batteries are designed to meet or exceed the original manufacturer’s specifications. In the case of a Legacy battery for an original PowerBook G4, FreshBattery has substituted the original 3600 mAH cells with 4400 mAH cells, resulting in a battery that adds an additional 40 minutes of run time between charges.
FreshBattery currently produces a battery range that covers the original “Clamshell” iBook G3s and goes back as far as the Wall Street and Pismo-era G3 PowerBooks. The Legacy battery line is currently priced under US$100 and available immediately.
If you have any thoughts or feedback about this or your laptop’s battery, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Suit Filed Against Apple and Sony Regarding Battery Burn

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Date: Thursday, July 26th, 2007, 07:52
Category: battery

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As much as you may like your Mac laptop, things will occasionally go wrong. A Japanese couple living in Tokyo are filing suit against Apple and Sony regarding a PowerBook G4 battery that burst into flames in April of 2006.
According to the International Herald Tribune, the couple is suing for “over” two million Yen (about US$16,700) in damages. The suit alleges that the man suffered burns to his finger while using the laptop an his wife endured mental distress due to the incident.
The battery comes from a batch of more than 10-million Sony-made notebook batteries that were recalled in 2006. Sony has stated that battery problems were caused by microscopic metal particles insider the battery that caused the unit to short circuit.
Since the recall, Sony has stated that it will improve battery design, production and inspection methods to prevent a recurrence of fires in their batteries.
If you have any thoughts about this or have seen something similar on your end, let us know over in the forums.

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Getting The Most Out of Your Laptop Battery

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Date: Monday, February 12th, 2007, 09:06
Category: battery

Anyone who has purchased an Apple laptop knows that the battery life is significant. I specifically remember getting four hours of life (full screen brightness) with my first G4 Powerbook. As time advances, the battery, processor, and electronic technology grows; and with it comes the ability to produce a portable that is more efficient and energy conservative, yet still has the performance that consumers require.

As time with your laptop advances however, the battery on your system may begin to lose its charging capabilities. What was once four hours of life, turns into three and a half, then to two and a half, and so on and so on. Throughout your system life, the greater portion of the time you will never use your laptop until the battery is empty. More or less you will use it for a little, then plug it back in, take it off, plug in again and so forth. The process of doing this can miss-calibrate the battery to the point where it will not allow maximum storage capability and lower your battery life.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Laptop Battery – Macinhack

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An Additional Reason to Exchange Your MBP Battery

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Date: Monday, December 4th, 2006, 07:16
Category: battery

MacMerc.com has a full story and updated picture (via way of flickr) of a MacBook Pro battery swelling far beyond any size it should have originally been.
The battery is a model A1175 that should have been exchanged when Apple began its program in response to overheating and swelling found in the MacBook Pro battery series earlier this year.
Apple states that there’s no physical danger from using the swollen batteries and it’s still safe to use the batteries until a replacement unit arrives from the company.
If you have any further information or comments about this issue, let us know.

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MiniBatteryLoger 1.4.4

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 23rd, 2006, 08:00
Category: battery

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MiniBatteryLogger monitors your laptop’s battery. It traces the graph
of charge and amperage over time, compares your battery with other
users, logs relevant power events and alerts you with Growl
notifications.

The Battery Inspector tells you all the details about your battery:
charge, capacity (actual, maximum and original), amperage, voltage,
cycle count. It also reports the estimated times to empty and to full
charge.

MiniBatteryLoger 1.4.4

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Hitachi Recalls 16,000 Sony Batteries

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Date: Friday, October 6th, 2006, 08:36
Category: battery

Hitachi said on Friday it will recall 16,000 batteries made by Sony for laptop computers, joining a growing list of PC makers recalling Sony batteries.

Hitachi is in talks with Sony about who will foot the bill to replace the lithium-ion batteries, but the number is too small to have any impact on Hitachi earnings, Hitachi spokesman Masayuki Takeuchi said.

The batteries were used mostly in laptops shipped to businesses, most of which are in Japan, he said.

Hitachi to recall 16,000 Sony-made batteries | Tech News on ZDNet

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