Lithium-air batteries are the coming thing. They have the potential to hold ten times the capacity per unit volume of lithium-ion batteries and are lighter, since one of the charge-carrying materials is ambient air. These air-breathing monsters look great. But, as with all monsters, they have their vulnerable spot. In this case, the vulnerability is something akin to asthma—the inability to get enough air into the battery. Medical scientists don`t seem to be too interested in making inhaler products for batteries, though, so scientists have been trying to come up with ways to keep the air flowing.
In some recent work, published in Nano Letters, researchers show that producing graphene as poorly as possible helps a lot. Yes, it truly is a case of deliberate incompetence saving the day.