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November 25, 2016

New supercapacitors could charge phones in seconds

Scientists at the University of Central Florida are working to patent the new process.

By CBR Staff Writer

Scientists at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in the US have created a supercapacitor that could charge a mobile phone in a few seconds and not require recharge for at least a week.

The flexible supercapacitors will have the capacity to store more energy compared to traditional supercapacitors and can be recharged over 30,000 times without degrading.

It is anticipated that the development by UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center could replace batteries and revolutionise technology as varied as mobile phones and electric cars.

UCF scientists have been exploring on how nanomaterials could be used to enhance supercapacitors that may improve or even replace batteries in electronic devices.

A supercapacitor that holds as much energy as a lithium-ion battery should generally be much larger.

The team at the UCF developed supercapacitors featuring several nanometer-thick wires coated with shells of two-dimensional materials.

The highly conductive core allows fast electron transfer for rapid charging and discharging, while the uniformly coated shells of two-dimensional materials generate high energy and power densities.

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Nitin Choudhary, a postdoctoral associate who carried out majority of the research, said: “For small electronic devices, our materials are surpassing the conventional ones worldwide in terms of energy density, power density and cyclic stability.”

A lithium-ion battery can be charged less than 1,500 times without significant failure. The new process created by UCF in comparison can yield a supercapacitor that does not degrade after it has been recharged 30,000 times.

Scientists said supercapacitors that use the new materials could be utilised in phones and other electronic gadgets, and electric vehicles that may benefit from sudden disturbances in power and speed.

Yeonwoong Eric Jung, an assistant professor with joint appointments to the NanoScience Technology Center and the Materials Science & Engineering Department, is working with the UCF team to patent the new process.

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

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