A team of scientists at the University of Central Florida (UCF) has developed a new process for creating flexible supercapacitors that can store more energy and be recharged more than 30,000 times without degrading. The battery technology currently used in smartphones starts degrading over times and starts holding less charge. Nitin Choudhary, a postdoctoral associate who conducted much of the research states, “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.”
The team has developed supercapacitors that are made up of nanometer-thick wires that are coated with shells of two-dimensional materials. A highly conductive core facilitates fast electron transfer for fast charging and discharging. The two-dimensional materials used as shells yield high energy and power densities.
Yeonwoong Jung, assistant professor with joint appointments to the NanoScience Technology Center and the Materials Science & Engineering Department stated, “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.” He added that scientists already knew two-dimensional materials had great potential for energy storage, but until the new process for integrating those materials, there was no way to realize that potential.
Supercapacitors that use the new materials could be used in a variety of electronic devices such ranging from smartphones to electric vehicles. Further, since these are flexible, it could be used in wearable devices as well.