Microsupercapacitors on marble

Thursday, 14 July, 2022

Microsupercapacitors on marble

In a step towards integrating energy storage with eco-friendly materials such as marble and granite, researchers have fabricated microsupercapacitors onto the surface of stone tiles. The devices, reported in the journal ACS Nano, are durable and easily scaled up for customisable 3D power supplies.

It would be convenient if the surfaces in rooms could charge smart home devices or other small electronics without being connected to the electrical grid. But although stone is a widely used material for floors, countertops and decorative backsplashes, it hasn’t previously been integrated with energy storage devices, such as batteries and capacitors.

Stones, even those that are polished and seem smooth, have microscopic bumps and divots, making it difficult to adhere electrical components to them. Researchers have recently figured out how to place microsupercapacitors, which have fast charging and discharging rates and excellent power supply storage, onto irregular surfaces with lasers. Bongchul Kang and colleagues at South Korea’s Kookmin University wanted to adapt this approach to build microsupercapacitors on marble.

The researchers patterned a copper oxide nanoparticle solution on a marble tile into two comb-like sides whose prongs were interspersed. They pointed a near-infrared laser on the nanoparticles, producing pure copper electrodes that were porous, highly conductive and strongly attached to the stone’s surface.

To form the microsupercapacitor, the researchers deposited iron oxide onto one of the electrodes to form a cathode, and manganese oxide on the other to form an anode. The electrolyte layer connecting the electrodes was made from a lithium perchlorate and polymer solution.

In tests, the device maintained a high energy storage capacity even after 4000 charge–discharge cycles. When multiple microenergy devices were strung together in a 3 x 3 array, enough energy was stored to light an LED. In addition, the stone energy storage devices were durable against harsh impacts and could be quickly recycled.

The researchers say that stone microenergy devices could provide high-performance, customisable and conveniently accessible power from natural building materials.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Jodie Johnson

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