Supercapacitor-548x363
November 22, 2016

This supercapacitor could let you charge your phone in five seconds

Cell phones batteries that lose storage capacity after 18 months and take 30 minutes to charge may become a thing of the past as a study team from the University of Central Florida has developed a groundbreaking supercapacitor.

In a report published by the journal ACS Nano, the researchers described how they developed flexible supercapacitors capable of storing high amounts of energy and recharging over 30,000 times without losing storage ability.

The study team said their work could completely transform current technology, from mobile phones to electric vehicles.

“If they were to replace the batteries with these supercapacitors, you could charge your mobile phone in a few seconds and you wouldn’t need to charge it again for over a week,” Nitin Choudhary, a postdoctoral associate at UCF, said in a news release.

Research With Amazing Materials

Researchers are currently investigating the usage of nanomaterials to create supercapacitors that might improve or even take the place of batteries in electronic devices. It’s a particularly challenging problem as a supercapacitor with the capability equal to a lithium-ion battery would have to be much, much bigger.

The study team said they've tested out cutting edge two-dimensional materials only a few atoms wide to see their value in supercapacitors. Other scientists have also tried arrangements with graphene and other two-dimensional materials, but with minimal success.

“There have been problems in the way people incorporate these two-dimensional materials into the existing systems – that’s been a bottleneck in the field. We developed a simple chemical synthesis approach so we can very nicely integrate the existing materials with the two-dimensional materials,” said Yeonwoong “Eric” Jung, a materials scientist at UCF,

The study team developed supercapacitors made up of millions of nanometer-wide wires covered with two-dimensional materials. An incredibly conductive center facilitates quick electron shift for speedy charging and discharging. The layered shells of two-dimensional resources yield substantial energy and power densities, the team noted.

“For small electronic devices, our materials are surpassing the conventional ones worldwide in terms of energy density, power density, and cyclic stability,” Choudhary said.

The experimental supercapacitors might be used in phones and other devices, as well as electric vehicles that could reap the benefits of abrupt jolts of power and speed. Because they’re flexible, it could mean a substantial advancement in wearable tech as well.

“It’s not ready for commercialization,” Jung said. “But this is a proof-of-concept demonstration, and our studies show there are very high impacts for many technologies.”

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Image credit: University of Central Florida