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New Technique Uses DVD Burner to Make Graphene Supercapacitors

The next generation of supercapacitors could completely revolutionize energy storage devices, and a team at UCLA has developed a method for producing them with graphene, using a standard DVD burner.

Supercapacitors exhibit the best characteristics of both batteries (high energy storage capacity) and capacitors (rapid charging and releasing of energy), and graphene, while considered a “wonder material” for those applications, has been a difficult one to work with.

Graphene, essentially a pure carbon polymer, has a very high surface area (1500 square meters per gram), is an incredibly conductive superconductor, and is both flexible and durable.

But previous to this latest development, producing sheets of graphene to use in supercapacitors wasn’t a simple endeavor.

Thanks to a scientific “accident”, a UCLA team has pioneered a method of producing graphene sheets using an ordinary DVD burner, turning out graphene sheets one atom thick that had an ultrahigh energy density without any further modification.

“We used a consumer-grade LightScribe DVD burner to produce graphene micro-supercapacitors over large areas at a fraction of the cost of traditional devices. Using this technique, we have been able to produce more than 100 micro-supercapacitors on a single disc in less than 30 minutes, using inexpensive materials.” – Maher El-Kady

The Super Supercapacitor | Brian Golden Davis from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

More recently, the team has further refined the process and scaled it up to near production level, still using just a standard DVD burner, and say that it’s as simple as it sounds:

“The process is straightforward, cost-effective and can be done at home. One only needs a DVD burner and graphite oxide dispersion in water, which is commercially available at a moderate cost.” – Maher El-Kady

Considering that carbon is abundant, non-toxic, and biodegradable, furthering research into graphene supercapacitor technology for energy storage sounds like it could be an incredibly potent piece of a cleaner, greener future.

[via UCLA]

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