Ireland’s Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has won €150,000 ($203,000) funding from the European Research Council (ERC) for a one-year nanotechnology project to develop 2D-based nanomaterials for ultra-thin, flexible supercapacitors for energy storage.
Professor Valeria Nicolosi, a research professor at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), told the Irish Times that her project 'Ultrasonic spray deposition: Enabling new 2D based technologies' focuses on looking at the economic and technical feasibility of using one-atom-thick materials. TCS will explore “liquid exfoliation” of atom-thick flakes of materials with useful properties.
According to some nanotechnologists, the key to supercapacitors' performance improvement is to use materials that have a high surface area are mechanically robust, strain-resistant, electrochemically stable and electronically conducting.
“There are hundreds of materials that can form two-dimensional layers, and the behaviours of these ultra-thin materials means there could be the potential to build devices that charge and discharge thousands of times over and still retain the same efficiency,” she said.
“The advantage of this technique is that you can produce billions and billions of layers within hours, it doesn’t involve any heavy chemistry, it doesn’t involve particularly challenging protocols and yet it produces loads of these materials.
In all 33 scientists from 15 countries around the EU received €150,000 grants from the ERC, in its latest funding round for proof-of-concept projects.
Supercapacitors are a hot topic, serving so many functions in electric vehicles and as a universal back-up power source. Will they take centre stage in the battery world as their uses expand? And who are the leaders in this growing industry? Dr Peter Harrop gives BEST the full story in the newest issue out July 2012.