Battery Technology: Charging into the Future with Indefinite Causal Order

Whenever we talk about “quantum”, we immediately think about quantum computers. But guess what? There’s more cool stuff in the quantum world, like these things called quantum batteries. Although, it sounds a bit puzzling but once its out of lab, it could totally shake things up especially for sustainable energy. And might even power future electric rides.

Scientists are already looking for ways to create quantum batteries that could outshine our regular ones, especially in those low-power gadgets. Thinking on these lines, researchers at the University of Tokyo are shaking things up by using a quirky quantum process that flips the script on causality norms.

Lab Experiments to Real-World Quantum Batteries

As said before, the quantum batteries are still in the lab experiment phase. Researchers like Yuanbo Chen and Professor Yoshihiko Hasegawa from the University of Tokyo are on a mission to take these (quantum) batteries from the lab to real-life situations. How? They aim to charge these batteries, and time is a key player in the process.

Chen explains that regular batteries in things like smartphones use chemicals like lithium, but quantum batteries go small-scale with microscopic particles, like arrays of atoms. Why? Because regular batteries stick to classical physics, while quantum batteries dive headfirst into the quantum world.

So, basically the team is exploring ways of manoeuvring the quantum world that bend or even break our intuitive notions of what takes place at small scales. It’s like science fiction, but it’s real!

Tapping into the Quantum World to Charge Batteries

So, these scientists, with the brains of researcher Gaoyan Zhu and Professor Peng Xue from Beijing Computational Science Research Center, teamed up. They explored charging a quantum battery using optical tools – lasers, lenses, and mirrors.

Now, here’s the interesting part – they made it happen by diving into the quantum world, where things don’t connect like our everyday cause-and-effect story.

Back in the early days of charging quantum batteries, it was a gradual step-by-step procedure. But this time, the team brought in some quantum magic with a cool thing called indefinite causal order (ICO).

In our regular world, cause and effect have a one-way street – A leads to B, no going back. But in the quantum world, thanks to ICO, it’s like a coexistence of both directions, where both can be true at the same time. It’s quantum magic!

ICO Charging Unleashes Surprising Performance Gains

Chen pointed out, when it comes to charging a quantum particle battery with ICO, it’s like a performance boost. As the team noticed big jumps in stored energy and thermal efficiency.

Surprisingly, against all expectations, a lower-power charger did a better job. It delivered more energy with greater efficiency than a higher-power one using the same setup.

After observing the ICO phenomenon, the team envision that it might have applications beyond charging low-power devices.

The underlying principles, including the unexpected interaction effect discovered, have the potential to improve or positively impact activities related to thermodynamics or processes that entail the transfer of heat. Take solar panels, for instance, ICO might help counter heat effects, boosting efficiency rather than reducing it.


Charging batteries through the power of “indefinite causal order” (ICO) holds exciting prospects for advancing energy storage technologies.

The innovative approach would surely pave the way for more sustainable and efficient energy solutions. Thus, impacting areas such as

  • portable electronics
  • electric vehicles
  • renewable energy systems

As we learn more and technology gets better, indefinite causal order (ICO) might revolutionize how we store energy and use quantum technologies in the future.

Source: University of Tokyo

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