Ultrafast 3D-printed graphene supercapacitor electrodes that outperform traditional methods have been developed by scientists at UC Santa Cruz and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).
The team printed micro-architected electrodes and built supercapacitors with high performance characteristics using a process called direct-ink writing and a graphene-oxide composite ink.
The graphene composite aerogel supercapacitors are stable, and capable of nearly fully retaining their energy capacity after 10,000 consecutive charging and discharging cycles, reported the researchers.
The results are featured on the cover of the March issue of the journal Nano Letters.
Yat Li, associate professor of chemistry at UC Santa Cruz and one of the author’s of the report said: “Supercapacitor devices using our 3D-printed graphene electrodes with thicknesses on the order of millimeters exhibit outstanding capacitance retention and power densities.
“This performance greatly exceeds the performance of conventional devices with thick electrodes, and it equals or exceeds the performance of reported devices made with electrodes 10 to 100 times thinner.”
“The use of 3D printing to intelligently engineer periodic macropores into the graphene electrode significantly enhances mass transport, allowing the device to support much faster charge/discharge rates without degrading its capacity.
“This work provides an example of how 3D-printed materials such as graphene aerogels can significantly expand the design space for fabricating high-performance and fully integrable energy storage devices optimized for a broad range of applications,” Li said.
LLNL engineer Cheng Zhu and UCSC graduate student Tianyu Liu are lead authors of the paper.
Zhu said: “This breaks through the limitations of what 2D manufacturing can do.”
The advantages of graphene-based inks include their ultrahigh surface area, lightweight properties, elasticity, and superior electrical conductivity.
Funding for the research came from LLNL’s Laboratory Directed Research & Development (LDRD).
Picture: Yat Li (left) and Tianyu Liu worked with researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to develop supercapacitors using 3D-printed graphene aerogel electrodes. Credit: Tim Stephens