Washington: Using the onion’s multi-layered design as inspiration, scientists have created a new super capacitor that is cheaper, more compact and powerful enough to power your laptop or phone for days at a stretch.
"If you open any computer, you will see a lot of these small, cylindrical round capacitors," Discovery News quoted Vadym Mochalin at Drexel University, as saying.
Unlike a battery, like the one inside your cell phone or laptop computer, stores energy chemically and converts it into electricity – a process that takes long.
A capacitor, however, can be charged and discharged much more rapidly than a battery, last longer and weigh less. And super capacitors store much more energy than their traditional counterparts and are used to power small devices such as toys including model planes and helicopters.
A powerful blast, usually hexagen or TNT, converts carbon contained in the molecules of explosives into a thin sheet of nanodiamonds.
The researchers then transformed those nanodiamonds into dozens or even hundreds of graphene layers, all nestled inside one another.
The graphene "onions" can discharge up to 200 volts every second when bathed and charged in an organic electrolyte.
If the technology is optimized that number would be enough to fully charge a cell phone, laptop or other electrical device almost instantaneously, and then dole out that power to a waiting battery for long-term storage.
Plus, the diamonds found in jewellery are expensive, but nanodiamonds are cheap.
The article is published in Nature Nanotechnology. (ANI)
First Published: Wednesday, September 01, 2010, 12:01