(A) Using three of the new highly flexible supercapacitors arranged in series, the researchers demonstrated lighting a red LED. (B) An illustration of the flexible, all-solid-state paper-like polymer supercapacitors. Image credit: Chuizhou Meng, et al. © 2010 American Chemical Society.
In an effort to develop wearable electronics, researchers have designed a new ultra-thin supercapacitor that has a capacitance that is six times higher than that of any current commercial supercapacitor. What’s more, the new supercapacitor was tested in a twisted state to demonstrate its good electrochemical properties with high flexibility.
The researchers, Chuizhou Meng, et al., from the Tsinghua-Foxconn Nanotechnology Research Center at Tsinghua University in Beijing have published their results in a recent issue of Nano Letters.
As the researchers explain, portable electronic devices are becoming increasingly small and flexible. However, the energy management components – e.g. batteries and supercapacitors – tend to lag behind the other components when it comes to small size and flexibility. Specifically, supercapacitors are limited by their conventional configuration, which is a separator sandwiched between two electrodes sealed in liquid electrolyte. The two major drawbacks with this configuration are that the liquid electrolyte requires safety encapsulation materials to prevent leakage, and the multiple parts of the system that move relative to each other decrease the performance and cycle life of the device.