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Squishy supercapacitors bathed in green tea could power wearable electronics

Date:
February 15, 2017
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Wearable electronics are here -- the most prominent versions are sold in the form of watches or sports bands. But soon, more comfortable products could become available in softer materials made in part with an unexpected ingredient: green tea. Researchers report a new flexible and compact rechargeable energy storage device for wearable electronics that is infused with green tea polyphenols.
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Wearable electronics are here -- the most prominent versions are sold in the form of watches or sports bands. But soon, more comfortable products could become available in softer materials made in part with an unexpected ingredient: green tea. Researchers report in ACS' The Journal of Physical Chemistry C a new flexible and compact rechargeable energy storage device for wearable electronics that is infused with green tea polyphenols.

Powering soft wearable electronics with a long-lasting source of energy remains a big challenge. Supercapacitors could potentially fill this role -- they meet the power requirements, and can rapidly charge and discharge many times. But most supercapacitors are rigid, and the compressible supercapacitors developed so far have run into roadblocks. They have been made with carbon-coated polymer sponges, but the coating material tends to bunch up and compromise performance. Guruswamy Kumaraswamy, Kothandam Krishnamoorthy and colleagues wanted to take a different approach.

The researchers prepared polymer gels in green tea extract, which infuses the gel with polyphenols. The polyphenols converted a silver nitrate solution into a uniform coating of silver nanoparticles. Thin layers of conducting gold and poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) were then applied. And the resulting supercapacitor demonstrated power and energy densities of 2,715 watts per kilogram and 22 watt-hours per kilogram -- enough to operate a heart rate monitor, LEDs or a Bluetooth module. The researchers tested the device's durability and found that it performed well even after being compressed more than 100 times.


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Journal Reference:

  1. Chayanika Das, Soumyajyoti Chatterjee, Guruswamy Kumaraswamy, Kothandam Krishnamoorthy. Elastic Compressible Energy Storage Devices from Ice Templated Polymer Gels treated with Polyphenols. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2017; 121 (6): 3270 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.6b12822

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American Chemical Society. "Squishy supercapacitors bathed in green tea could power wearable electronics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170215101450.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2017, February 15). Squishy supercapacitors bathed in green tea could power wearable electronics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170215101450.htm
American Chemical Society. "Squishy supercapacitors bathed in green tea could power wearable electronics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170215101450.htm (accessed May 24, 2017).

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