This technology could make batteries obsolete for electric cars and smartphones

Published by Adrien - Tuesday, May 14, 2024 - Other Languages: FR, DE, ES, PT
Source: Science

A recent discovery in material science could revolutionize energy storage, especially for electric vehicles and electronic devices. Researchers have developed capacitors from new "heterostructures" that slow down the rate at which energy dissipates, without affecting their ability to charge quickly.

Illustration Image Pixabay

This breakthrough, arrived at by chance, could significantly extend the battery life of consumer electronics such as laptops or smartphones. Additionally, it could enhance the flexibility of energy storage on a network scale. These findings were published on April 18 in the journal Science.

Unlike batteries, capacitors store electricity in an electric field, allowing for rapid charging and discharging for instant access to energy. They are widely used in smartphones, for example, for brief high energy needs such as a camera flash.

These capacitors utilize ferroelectric materials that can "remember" their electrical state even after being disconnected. However, they do not retain energy as long as batteries do.

Moreover, researchers fortuitously found that a tiny space at the center of these structures increased the time these capacitors retain their charge before losing it. These ultra-thin structures, only about 30 nanometers thick, combine conductive and non-conductive properties, making them more capable of efficiently conserving energy.

These heterostructures, where 2D and 3D materials are layered like sheets of lasagna, have shown an energy density up to 19 times higher than current capacitors, with an efficiency greater than 90%.

If replicated on a large scale, this discovery could change how we store and access energy, enabling almost instant availability without compromising long-term storage stability. This could pave the way for increased use of rapid-charging capacitors in areas requiring long-term storage, such as electric vehicles, or for industrial applications and electric grid management.
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