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  • Writer's pictureMaher El-Kady

Wiki Physics UW: Graphene Micro-Supercapacitors

::Source: University of Wisconsin Madison::

Graphene Micro-Supercapacitors

Co-I GarrettFrankson and AustinJeffries Current Status: Building Project Page

Project Overview

The electronic devices we use in our everyday life utilize two different types of electrical sources in order to operate: batteries and capacitors. A battery stores a fair amount of energy but is slow to charge and discharge (low power density). A capacitor can charge and discharge very rapidly (high power density) but stores a very small amount of energy. A supercapacitor combines the best of both by storing a large amount of energy while also being able to charge and discharge very rapidly.

A capacitor is often constructed with two layers of conducting foil separated by a paper-thin layer of insulator. The capacity of such a device is proportional to the area of the foil A and inversely proportional to the insulator thickness t, C∝A/t. A supercapacitor has an atomic scale insulator thickness given by the solvation layer surrounding an ion in an electrolyte, and a large surface area. Supercapacitors on the order of 100 - 103 Farads are now commercially available and approach the energy density of batteries while still offering fast charge and discharge rates.

The authors of the Nature paper below, El-Kady and Kaner, have provided a video introduction to graphene based supercapacitors.

Project Goals

Short Term Goals

Create graphene micro-supercapacitor material using the methods outlined by El-Kady and Kaner.Conduct a series of tests on how to maximize the amount of charge stored within each graphene micro-supercapacitor.

Long Term Goals

Design an apparatus that can hold many graphene micro-supercapcitors in an efficient and usable way for use in application.Experiment with powering small mobile devices (ie. a flash light, a watch, a cellphone).

Relevant Publications

Scalable fabrication of high-power graphene micro-supercapacitors for flexible and on-chip energy storage

Maher F. El-Kady & Richard B. Kaner

El-Kady and Kaner demonstrate a scalable fabrication of graphene micro-supercapacitors over large areas by direct laser writing on graphite oxide films. More than 100 micro-supercapacitors can be produced on a single disc in 30 min or less. The devices are built on flexible substrates for flexible electronics and on-chip uses. Remarkably, miniaturizing the devices to the microscale results in enhanced charge-storage capacity and rate capability. These microsupercapacitors demonstrate a power density of ~200 W cm-3, which is among the highest values achieved for any supercapacitor.

Preparation of Graphitic Oxide

William S. Hummers & Richard E. Offema

The conventional method for the preparation of graphitic oxide is time consuming and hazardous. Hummers and Offema have developed a rapid, relatively safe method for preparing graphitic oxide from graphite in what is essentially an anhydrous mixture of sulfuric acid, sodium nitrate and potassium permanganate.

Layer-by-Layer Assembly of Ultrathin Composite Films from Micron-Sized Graphite Oxide Sheets and Polycations

Nina I. Kovtyukhova et al.For the synthesis of graphitic oxide, El-Kady and Kaner used a modified Hummers' method developed by Nina I. Kovtyukhova et al.Science 2 August 2013:Vol. 341 no. 6145 pp. 534-537,DOI: 10.1126/science.1239089, Liquid-Mediated Dense Integration of Graphene Materials for Compact Capacitive Energy Storage

Related literature

This article

"High-rate electrochemical energy storage through Li+ intercalation pseudocapacitance,",

got me wondering about an old amazing thing. Palladium is a sponge for hydrogen, a phenomenon once touted as a means to achieve "cold fusion."

"Hydrogen in thin Pd-based layers deposited on reticulated vitreous carbon—A new system for electrochemical capacitors,"M. Łukaszewskia, A. Żurowskia,cA. Czerwińskia, Journal of Power Sources Volume 185, Issue 2, 1 December 2008, Pages 1598–1604,


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