This revolutionary discovery is a step towards the creation of computer hard drives with no moving parts, which would be much faster, less expensive to produce and use less energy than current ones. Then once it evolves, the new battery could be developed to power future vehicles.
The device created by University of Miami Physicist Stewart E. Barnes, of the College of Arts and Sciences and his collaborators can store energy in magnets rather than through chemical reactions. Like a winding up toy car, the spin battery is "wound up" by applying a large magnetic field -- no chemistry involved. The device is potentially better than anything found so far, said Barnes. "We had anticipated the effect, but the device produced a voltage over a hundred times too big and for tens of minutes, rather than for milliseconds as we had expected...That this was counter intuitive is what lead to our theoretical understanding of what was really going on."
The Spin Battery is charged by the application of a very strong magnetic field, the Magnetic Tunnel Junction contains a set of nano-magnets - zones some 5 nanometers across in a zinc-gallium-arsenic-magnesium matrix - which absorb energy and then release it over time. Although the effect had been predicted in theory, the power output and duration of electrical current was not.
It uses the same principles as those found in our current battery technologies, except in a more direct fashion. The energy stored in a battery is in the form of chemical energy. When something is turned "on" there is a chemical reaction which occurs and produces an electric current. The new technology converts the magnetic energy directly into electrical energy, without a chemical reaction. The electrical current made in this process is called a spin polarized current and finds use in a new technology called "spintronics."
While the battery technology is in its infancy and the current example is not very powerful, in the future these batteries maybe found in our everyday electronics. From household appliances, cell phones, computers, and whatever else you can think of will be able to benefit from Spintronics. I personally can't wait for batteries that are smaller and stronger. They would be perfect for our ever shrinking favorite electronic devices. Plus with no chemicals inside we don't have to worry about leaky batteries in the remote for the TV.