Scientists created new flexible supercapacitors with the use of nanotechnology. The novel method would make batteries store more energy with a dramatically lesser charging time.
Creation of Revolutionary Supercapacitors
Today’s technology has made it possible to have bigger capabilities while having a smaller, or maintaining, size. A research team from the University of Central Florida has developed super thin supercapacitors that, according to a postdoctorate associate and one of the researchers named Nitin Choudhary, can charge mobile phones “in a few seconds” and will not need “to charge it again for over a week.”
Published in the academic journal ACS Nano, the research from UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center made a breakthrough in the field of nanotechnology. They were able to find solutions for hurdles that scientists have faced when exploring how to harness the potential of nanomaterials in supercapacitors.
Small But Terrible
For a supercapacitor to hold as much energy as a lithium-ion battery, its size would have to be significantly larger. To solve this, principal investigator Yeonwoong “Eric” Jung said they are able to develop “a simple chemical synthesis approach” to successfully assimilate two-dimensional materials with a thickness of only a few atoms with existing systems.
The team used two-dimensional materials called transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) that are really small. TMDs are the definition of small but terrible as, despite their tiny size, they have a highly conductive core which allows a faster electron transfer. This means charging and discharging is dramatically quicker.
Meanwhile, the supercapacitors are made up of two-dimensional material shell coatings and composed of millions of nanometer-thick wires. This setup paves the way to realizing the potential of the supercapacitors of tomorrow.
New Generation of Technology
Smartphone owners are familiar with the fact that batteries begin to degrade after 18 months which means they will only be able to hold less energy after that time frame. This is called the cyclic stability which describes the number of times a battery can be charged, recharged, and drained before it starts to degrade.
But with the team’s new materials, Choudhary promises they can surpass conventional batteries “in terms of energy density, power density, and cyclic stability.” As a reference, a lithium-ion battery can last up to 1,500 times before degrading while the scientists’ new capacitors can last 30,000 times.
As of now, the supercapacitors are not yet ready for commercial use. However, the scientists have shown a “proof-of-concept demonstration” on the scale they can impact with nanotechnology – from smartphones, wearables, to even electronic vehicles. The patent application is currently being processed by Jung with UCF’s Office of Technology Transfer.