It is the bane of our modern-day existence – dying batteries! Batteries, which are essentially another name for capacitors, are everywhere; from mobile phones, laptops, toys, cars and a plethora of portable electronic devices – in fact, you’re probably reading this on one right now. Batteries are a lot like any other consumable, they deplete over time and akin to the end-user, get weaker over time too. The multi-billion-dollar electronics and tech industry cannot wait for the next breakthrough in battery technology. This research might have had the ball rolling and we are extremely excited to share this with you!
Dr. Salman N. Arshad (Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering) has been working to re-imagine battery tech from the ground up to help alleviate us from the conundrums of current battery technology. His research focuses on developing carbon-based electrode material for an increase in specific capacitance and charge retention. But there’s more – his team has developed a method where carbon nanotubes, nanofibers and iron oxide work together in a beautiful display of chemistry to produce desired results for capacitance retention.
Through what seems a microscopic miracle, Iron nano particles are fabricated on to carbon nanotubes through a process called chemical vapour deposition. The resulting contraption looks a lot like a matchstick (an iron blob sitting on top of a thin carbon nanotube). Millions of these tiny iron-encapsulated carbon nanotubes are fabricated to a carbon nanofiber. By design, the iron gets ‘rusty’ or oxidised through oxygen present in air and this resulting apparatus of iron oxide + carbon nanotube + carbon nanofiber is the key concoction that has been shown to exhibit long term durability with 95% capacitance retention even after 5000 charge-discharge cycles. Compare this to your average lithium ion battery that falls to well below 70% retention after that many charge cycles.
Dr. Salman’s research paper will be published in the November 2020 issue of the journal Synthetic Metals. Reference: Faryal Aftab, Shahid Tanveer, Shahid Ur Rehman, Samina Ghafoor, Hatice Duran, Katrin Kirchhoff, Ingo Lieberwirth, Salman N. Arshad.
Encapsulation of Fe/Fe3O4 in carbon nanotubes grown over carbon nanofibers for high performance supercapacitor electrodes, Synthetic Metals, Volume 269, 2020, 116575, ISSN 0379-6779