New kind of supercapacitor made without carbon

    Energy storage device could deliver more power than current versions of this technology.
    MIT Semicapacitor Web
    To demonstrate the supercapacitor's ability to store power, the researchers modified an off-the-shelf hand-crank flashlight (the red parts at each side) by cutting it in half and installing a small supercapacitor in the center, in a conventional button battery case, seen at top. When the crank is turned to provide power to the flashlight, the light continues to glow long after the cranking stops, thanks to the stored energy. Photo, Melanie Gonick

    Energy storage devices called supercapacitors have become a hot area of research, in part because they can be charged rapidly and deliver intense bursts of power. However, all supercapacitors currently use components made of carbon, which require high temperatures and harsh chemicals to produce.

    Now researchers at MIT and elsewhere have for the first time developed a supercapacitor that uses no conductive carbon at all, and that could potentially produce more power than existing versions of this technology.

    The team’s findings are being reported in the journal Nature Materials, in a paper by Mircea Dincă, an MIT associate professor of chemistry; Yang Shao-Horn, the W.M. Keck Professor of Energy; and four others.

    “We’ve found an entirely new class of materials for supercapacitors,” Dincă says.

    Read more at the MIT News Office.

    David L. Chandler | MIT News Office
    October 10, 2016