Vanderbilt University scientists have developed a supercapacitor made out of silicon that can be built into a chip. This little ditty could possibly give cellphones weeks of life from one charge, or solar cells that produce energy with or without the sun. Now that would be some pretty sci-fi, crazy type thing. And pretty cool at that, yes?
Published in Scientific Reports (warning, this article is pretty intense), this new tech would gather ions on the surface of the porous silicon material to produce energy. Different from batteries (with all those crazy chemical reactions) the silicon supercapacitors can be charged in minutes and last way for weeks at a time.
“If you ask experts about making a supercapacitor out of silicon, they will tell you it is a crazy idea,” said assistant professor Cary Pint, who headed the development team at Vanderbilt. “But we’ve found an easy way to do it.”
The silicon is coated in carbon, which seemed to stabilize the previously unstable (at least for a chip) surface of the silicon. This made it pretty darn effective at storing all of that sweet energy.
“All the things that define us in a modern environment require electricity,” said Pint. “The more that we can integrate power storage into existing materials and devices, the more compact and efficient they will become.”