Graphene Micro-Supercapacitors

Project Overview

The electronic devices we use in our everyday life utilize two different types of electrical sources in order to operate: batteries and capacitors. A battery stores a fair amount of energy but is slow to charge and discharge (low power density). A capacitor can charge and discharge very rapidly (high power density) but stores a very small amount of energy. A supercapacitor combines the best of both by storing a large amount of energy while also being able to charge and discharge very rapidly.

A capacitor is often constructed with two layers of conducting foil separated by a paper-thin layer of insulator. The capacity of such a device is proportional to the area of the foil A and inversely proportional to the insulator thickness t, C∝A/t. A supercapacitor has an atomic scale insulator thickness given by the solvation layer surrounding an ion in an electrolyte, and a large surface area. Supercapacitors on the order of 100 - 103 Farads are now commercially available and approach the energy density of batteries while still offering fast charge and discharge rates.

The authors of the Nature paper below, El-Kady and Kaner, have provided a video introduction to graphene based supercapacitors.

Fabrication of Microsupercapacitors

Project Goals

Short Term Goals
  1. Create graphene micro-supercapacitor material using the methods outlined by El-Kady and Kaner.
  2. Conduct a series of tests on how to maximize the amount of charge stored within each graphene micro-supercapacitor.

Long Term Goals
  1. Design an apparatus that can hold many graphene micro-supercapcitors in an efficient and usable way for use in application.
  2. Experiment with powering small mobile devices (ie. a flash light, a watch, a cellphone).

Relevant Publications

This article

"High-rate electrochemical energy storage through Li+ intercalation pseudocapacitance,",

got me wondering about an old amazing thing. Palladium is a sponge for hydrogen, a phenomenon once touted as a means to achieve "cold fusion."

"Hydrogen in thin Pd-based layers deposited on reticulated vitreous carbon—A new system for electrochemical capacitors,"M. Łukaszewskia, A. Żurowskia,cA. Czerwińskia, Journal of Power Sources Volume 185, Issue 2, 1 December 2008, Pages 1598–1604,



Short term budget

Material Safety Data Sheets

Sodium Nitrate Phosphorus Pentoxide Potassium Permanganate Sulfuric Acid Hydrogen Peroxide Graphite Graphene Oxide Dispersed Graphene Oxide