The Super Supercapacitor
21 June 2013
Smartphones, tablets and even electric cars; it won’t be long before charging these and other products becomes a question of only a minute!
In 2010, the Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to two scientists for their research on graphene, the thinnest and strongest material in existence. This flexible film consists of a single layer of carbon atoms and is 200 times stronger than structural steel. Until recently, however, no efficient way to produce graphene had yet been found.
Chemist Richard. B. Kaner of the University of California and his team have found a way to change all that. They have devised a way to optimize the inefficient method used to produce graphene, which brings efficient and scalable production within reach.. By painting a DVD with a liquid graphite oxide solution and exposing this to the laser in a standard DVD burner, a perfect layer of graphene was created. This was a tremendous breakthrough, but the best was still to come.
This perfect layer of graphene was found to be able to store electrical energy. After charging for two or three seconds, the material powered the LED light bulb for around five minutes. The graphene thus behaved like a super supercapacitor: it can discharge huge amounts of electricity within a very short time.
This breakthrough holds huge promise for the future and opens up possibilities for use in existing chargeable devices. In a few years, it should be possible to charge a smartphone within 30 seconds with the help of this technology. The fact that graphene consists solely of carbon atoms means that next to being highly efficient, this method is environmentally friendly as well.