Laser-Induced graphene supercapacitors may be the future of wearables

Last year researchers at Rice University announced that they had been able to develop a way to produce graphene usiang a computer-controlled laser in the process. The resulting product was dubbed laser-induced graphene (LIG). Since developing the material, the researchers are now proposing that it might be a suitable replacement for batteries inside wearable electronic devices.

One of the big attributes of LIG is that it is much easier to make compared to graphene made using chemical vapor deposition. To make LIG the team uses a commercial polyimide plastic sheet and a computer-controlled laser. The laser is able to burn everything on the top layer of the polyimide sheet except carbon.

The material left behind after the laser does its job is a form of graphene. The team of researchers believe that the new LIG method will eventually lead to the ability to produce graphene in a roll-to-roll system eliminating the complex manufacturing conditions that have limited production of micro-supercapacitors.

The team says that the micro-supercapacitors that are fabricated with LIG have an energy density on par with thin-film lithium-ion batteries. The micro-supercapacitors have a capacitance of 934 microfards per square centimeter and an energy density of 3.2 milliwatts per cubic centimeter. Another key factor is that the micro-supercapacitors didn’t degrade over time.

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