A research team in the USA has devised a way to create a stretchable supercapacitor, which can be used to store large amounts of energy.
‘The development of flexible electronic devices, such as wearable or implantable biomedical sensors or monitoring devices, will require flexible power-storage systems’, writes MIT, which was involved in the project. To develop the supercapacitor, the team placed a layer of deformable hydrogel (acting as an insulator) between two sheets of ‘graphene paper’: a material formed by bonding together layers of graphene, the 2D (one atom thick) form of carbon.
The graphene paper was created by placing a sheet of graphene in a device that compressed it in one direction, creating parallel folds, and then the other, creating a ‘crumpled’ surface. By using such a sheet, the supercapacitor can be bent, folded and stretched to up to eight times its original size. The device can be crumpled and flattened up to 1,000 times without losing performance.
Crumpled graphene paper is not limited to supercapacitors. The researchers note that it could be used as an electrode in a flexible battery, or to make a stretchable sensor.
The work was published in the journal Scientific Reports (http://tinyurl.com/qz47wob).