Key to Cheaper Lithium Ion Batteries Could Be Inside the MicrowaveS

Researchers at UT Austin have devised a new way to create lithium iron phosphate-the compound inside high-density Li-ion batteries being developed for cars and power tools-that uses microwaves to cut costs. The new method requires lower temperatures (300° C rather than 700°) and less time to fabricate the phosphate via the nuking process-just like throwing that Tombstone in the m-wave rather than the oven. The tech probably won't trickle down into laptop batteries, which use a lithium cobalt oxide that isn't capable of the quick bursts of current needed to get something like the Chevy Volt rolling. All the better to crash your Tesla with. [Technology Review]