Nav: Home

Scientists see the light on microsupercapacitors

December 03, 2015

HOUSTON - (Dec. 3, 2015) - Rice University researchers who pioneered the development of laser-induced graphene have configured their discovery into flexible, solid-state microsupercapacitors that rival the best available for energy storage and delivery.

The devices developed in the lab of Rice chemist James Tour are geared toward electronics and apparel. They are the subject of a new paper in the journal Advanced Materials.

Microsupercapacitors are not batteries, but inch closer to them as the technology improves. Traditional capacitors store energy and release it quickly (as in a camera flash), unlike common lithium-ion batteries that take a long time to charge and release their energy as needed.

Rice's microsupercapacitors charge 50 times faster than batteries, discharge more slowly than traditional capacitors and match commercial supercapacitors for both the amount of energy stored and power delivered.

The devices are manufactured by burning electrode patterns with a commercial laser into plastic sheets in room-temperature air, eliminating the complex fabrication conditions that have limited the widespread application of microsupercapacitors. The researchers see a path toward cost-effective, roll-to-roll manufacturing.

"It's a pain in the neck to build microsupercapacitors now," Tour said. "They require a lot of lithographic steps. But these we can make in minutes: We burn the patterns, add electrolyte and cover them."

Their capacitance of 934 microfarads per square centimeter and energy density of 3.2 milliwatts per cubic centimeter rival commercial lithium thin-film batteries, with a power density two orders of magnitude higher than batteries, the researchers claimed. The devices displayed long life and mechanical stability when repeatedly bent 10,000 times.

Their energy density is due to the nature of laser-induced graphene (LIG). Tour and his group discovered last year that heating a commercial polyimide plastic sheet with a laser burned everything but the carbon from the top layer, leaving a form of graphene. But rather than a flat sheet of hexagonal rings of atoms, the laser left a spongy array of graphene flakes attached to the polyimide, with high surface area.

The researchers treated their LIG patterns -- interdigitated like folded hands -- with manganese dioxide, ferric oxyhydroxide or polyaniline through electrodeposition and turned the resulting composites into positive and negative electrodes. The composites could then be formed into solid-state microsupercapacitors with no need for current collectors, binders or separators.

Tour is convinced the day is coming when supercapacitors replace batteries entirely, as energy storage systems will charge in minutes rather than hours. "We're not quite there yet, but we're getting closer all the time," he said. "In the interim, they're able to supplement batteries with high power. What we have now is as good as some commercial supercapacitors. And they're just plastic."
-end-
Rice graduate students Lei Li and Jibo Zhang and alumnus Zhiwei Peng are lead authors of the paper. Co-authors are Rice postdoctoral researchers Yongsung Ji, Nam Dong Kim, Gedeng Ruan and Yang Yang and graduate students Yilun Li, Ruquan Ye and Huilong Fei; Caitian Gao, a visiting graduate student at Rice from Lanzhou University, China; and Qifeng Zhong, a visiting graduate student at Rice from Southeast University, Nanjing, China. Tour is the T.T. and W.F. Chao Chair in Chemistry as well as a professor of materials science and nanoengineering and of computer science.

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research and its Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative and the Chinese Scholarship Council supported the research.

Read the abstract at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201503333/abstract

This news release can be found online at http://news.rice.edu/2015/12/03/scientists-see-the-light-on-microsupercapacitors/

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews

Related Materials:

Tour Group: http://www.jmtour.com

Wiess School of Natural Sciences: http://naturalsciences.rice.edu

Video:

https://youtu.be/NqIa5j0Oo9E

Images for download:

http://news.rice.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/1102_LIG-1-WEB.jpg

Treating laser-induced graphene created at Rice University with manganese dioxide turns the material into a microsupercapacitor that rivals any on the market today, according to the researchers. The flexible material in this electron microscope image shows promise for electronics and apparel. (Credit: Tour Group/Rice University)

http://news.rice.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/1102_LIG-2-WEB.jpg

Rice University scientists are making small, flexible microsupercapacitors in a room-temperature process they claim shows promise for manufacturing in bulk. The technique is based on their method to burn patterns of spongy graphene into plastic sheets with a commercial laser. (Credit: Tour Group/Rice University)

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,910 undergraduates and 2,809 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for best quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. To read "What they're saying about Rice," go to http://tinyurl.com/AboutRiceUniversity.

Editor's note: Links to a video and images for download appear at the end of this release.

David Ruth
713-348-6327
david@rice.edu

Mike Williams
713-348-6728
mikewilliams@rice.edu

Rice University

Related Graphene Articles:

New chemical method could revolutionize graphene
University of Illinois at Chicago scientists have discovered a new chemical method that enables graphene to be incorporated into a wide range of applications while maintaining its ultra-fast electronics.
Searching beyond graphene for new wonder materials
Graphene, the two-dimensional, ultra lightweight and super-strong carbon film, has been hailed as a wonder material since its discovery in 2004.
New method of characterizing graphene
Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene's properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials.
Chemically tailored graphene
Graphene is considered as one of the most promising new materials.
Beyond graphene: Advances make reduced graphene oxide electronics feasible
Researchers have developed a technique for converting positively charged (p-type) reduced graphene oxide (rGO) into negatively charged (n-type) rGO, creating a layered material that can be used to develop rGO-based transistors for use in electronic devices.
The Graphene 2017 Conference connects Barcelona with the international graphene-based industry
This prestigious Conference to be held at the Barcelona International Convention Centre (March 28-31) aims to bring together academia and industry to integrate new graphene technologies into practical applications.
Graphene from soybeans
A breakthrough by CSIRO-led scientists has made the world's strongest material more commercially viable, thanks to the humble soybean.
First use of graphene to detect cancer cells
By interfacing brain cells onto graphene, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have shown they can differentiate a single hyperactive cancerous cell from a normal cell, pointing the way to developing a simple, noninvasive tool for early cancer diagnosis.
Development of graphene microwave photodetector
DGIST developed cryogenic microwave photodetector which is able to detect 100,000 times smaller light energy compared to the existing photedetectors.
Adding hydrogen to graphene
IBS researchers report a fundamental study of how graphene is hydrogenated.

Related Graphene Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...