IISc device can help power streetlights | Bengaluru News

BENGALURU: Researchers at the department of instrumentation and applied physics (IAP), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), have designed a novel ultra-micro supercapacitor – a tiny device capable of storing an enormous amount of electric charge.
According to the institute, the new device is much smaller and more compact than existing supercapacitors and can potentially be used in many appliances ranging from streetlights to consumer electronics, electric cars and medical apparatus. “Most of these devices are currently powered by batteries. However, over time, these batteries lose their ability to store charge and therefore have a limited shelf life. Capacitors, on the other hand, can store electric charge for much longer, by virtue of their design,” IISc said in a statement.
For example, a capacitor operating at 5 volts will continue to operate at the same voltage even after a decade. But unlike batteries, they cannot discharge energy constantly – to power a mobile phone, for example.
“Supercapacitors, on the other hand, combine the best of batteries and capacitors – they can store as well as release large amounts of energy, and are highly sought-after for next-generation electronic devices,” IISc said.
In the current study, published in ACS Energy Letters, researchers fabricated their supercapacitor using field-effect transistors (FETs) as the charge collectors, instead of the metallic electrodes used in existing capacitors.
“Using FET as an electrode for supercapacitors is something new for tuning charge in a capacitor,” said Abha Misra, professor, IAP, and corresponding author of the study. “The design is the critical part, because you are integrating two systems,” Misra said.
Once the supercapacitor was fabricated, the team measured the electrochemical capacitance (or charge-holding capacity) of the device by applying various voltages.
Vinod Panwar, a PhD student at IAP and one of the lead authors, said it was challenging to fabricate the device to get all the ideal characteristics of the transistor right. “Since these supercapacitors are very small, they cannot be seen without a microscope, and the fabrication process needs precision and hand-eye coordination,” Panwar said.
Full report: toi.in

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