Researchers in the UK and Brazil have developed a supercapacitor that can be integrated into footwear or clothing, an advancement with applications in wearables and IoT devices.
Surrey University’s research team Institute of Advanced Technology (ATI) and the Federal University of Pelotas (UFPel), Brazil, show how to efficiently fabricate a supercapacitor into a powerful and inexpensive energy storage device that can be easily integrated into smartwatches, fitness trackers and other devices. Their research is detailed in nanoscale†
In a statement, Professor Ravi Silva, director of the ATI and head of the Nano-Electronics Center at Surrey University, said: “Supercapacitors are essential to ensure that 5G and 6G technologies reach their full potential. of wearable consumer technologies, they have the potential to be revolutionary when you think about their role in autonomous vehicles and AI-assisted smart sensors that can help us all save energy, which is why it’s important that we create a low-cost and eco-friendly way to produce this incredibly promising energy storage technology.”
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In the paper, the research team describes a new procedure for developing flexible supercapacitors based on carbon nanomaterials. This method, said to be cheaper and less time consuming to fabricate, involves transferring aligned carbon nanotube (CNT) arrays from a silicon wafer to a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) matrix. This is then coated in polyaniline (PANI), which stores energy via pseudocapacitance, which ATI says offers ‘excellent energy storage properties with exceptional mechanical integrity’.
The team added that its wafer-thin supercapacitor retains most of its capacitance after numerous cycles under various bending conditions, demonstrating its robustness, longevity and efficiency.
The first research work was conducted in the ATI and consisted of the growth and characterization of materials, followed by electrochemical measurements performed at the UFPel by Raphael Balboni, the lead author of the paper and Ph.D. pupil.