Scientists from the University of Central Florida (UCF) may just have created one of the Holy Grails in mobile technology. The team has announced that they have developed a supercapacitor battery prototype that could charge in seconds but power devices for several days.
The UCF battery technology is not exactly that novel as it builds on the traditional supercapacitor concept in its promise to revolutionize the way we interact with mobile devices today.
What Is A Supercapacitor?
Essentially, supercapacitors function like conventional batteries in the sense that they also store electricity. However, instead of the use of chemicals, they store energy through a pair of conducting metal plates. These are coated with porous material, which then houses the electric charges statically. The “super” tag in the supercapacitor means bigger plates and smaller distances between them and they work with different dielectric energy.
What Existing Prototype Can Do
The University of Central Florida scientists bucked the trend of using graphene as coating material in their supercapacitors. They used 2D metals to wrap tiny conductive wires and these metals only measure few atoms in thickness. The contraption ensured the electrons can pass from the core to the shell faster and more efficiently.
“There have been problems in the way people incorporate these two-dimensional materials into the existing systems — that’s been a bottleneck in the field,” Yeonwoong Jung, the team’s principal investigator, said. “We developed a simple chemical synthesis approach so we can very nicely integrate the existing materials with the two-dimensional materials.”
According to the scientists, their creation can purportedly prevent electrical leaks so that the output can last 20 times longer than a lithium-ion cell.
What is also quite impressive is the claim that the existing prototype does not degrade as much as current battery technologies. After 18 months of use, it only showed minimal degradation and that after getting charged 30,000 times, its condition is still like new.
The Future Of Mobile Technology?
Battery performance is hands-down one of the most important variables in smartphone purchase and use. Indeed, what will one do with an excellent camera, a handset with an artisan-like craftsmanship or a gorgeous display if the phone hits the sack every four hours or so.
The supercapacitors, though still in its early stage of development, is giving the tech world much hope with its immense potential. The prototype that the UCF scientists demonstrated is merely a proof of concept. While some say that, like other new breakthrough technologies, it might never see the light of day, it is still an exciting technology that could very well revolutionize the capabilities of portable devices in the future.
The scientists are now reportedly finding ways to patent their technology so they can commercialize the product, all paving the way for mass adoption.
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