Transparent supercapacitors soon integrated into displays?

May 26, 2016 // By Julien Happich
Researchers from Aalto University (Finland) and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Russia) have demonstrated a fully transparent an electrochemical double-layer capacitor relying on single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) films for their electrodes.

The SWCNT films obtained exhibited extremely large specific capacitance (178F g −1 or 552μF cm −2), high optical transparency (92%) and stability for 10 000 charge/discharge cycles, the scientists report in their paper "Transparent and flexible high-performance supercapacitors based on single-walled carbon nanotube films". These properties make the SWCNT films well suited to design flexible and high-performance transparent and flexible energy storage devices to be used in displays, sensors or photovoltaic applications, to name a few.

The researchers devised a single step aerosol synthesis and dry deposition method to produce the SWCNT thin films which were used as electrodes for an electrochemical double-layer capacitor (EDLC) prototype constructed with a polyethylene casing and a gel electrolyte.

Photos of a transparent and flexible EDLC prototype based on the thin SWCNT films. (b) Charging and (c) discharging of three EDLC prototypes connected in series. Credit: Kanninen et al. ©2016 IOP Publishing

Lead author Petri Kanninen sees potential applications for high-aesthetic-value products, such as activity bands and smart clothes, and inherently transparent end-uses, such as displays and smart windows.

The researchers are now working on a stretchable version of their SWCNT-based supercapacitor, hoping to reach up to 100% elongation without loss of performance.

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