Scientists at Drexel University have successfully used a two-dimensional material to achieve new charging rates for pseudocapacitive materials. This material can charge the materials in mere milliseconds, and provides a powerful new source of energy.
The team of scientists, working in conjunction with researchers at the Universite Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France, have been working on this project for some time. Scientists first discovered this material over twenty years ago, which they called Max phase. Max phase was considered intriguing because it contains all elements, and with the right tools scientists believed they could use it in a variety of experiments.
Since 2011, Drexel scientists have been exploring the properties of this two-dimensional material (known as MXene) and determining whether it could be used for energy storage. Now they finally have their answer, and the results are immensely exciting, particularly when considering the properties of pseudocapacitors.
Pseudocapacitors differ from other supercapacitor varieties in one very important way: they store their charge via chemical mechanism, in the same way batteries do. They are superior to batteries because they can store a comparable amount of energy to a battery, but operate at much faster speeds. However, it could take up to several minutes for these pseudocapacitors to charge; now, Drexel scientists have reduced that time to mere milliseconds.
“The key to the faster charging times was the electrode architecture, which allowed easy access of ions on the surface of MXene sheets. Also, in this work we demonstrate an extended operational voltage window which leads to a higher energy density.”
This development means that someday soon we could have our devices fully charged in a matter of seconds, instead of having to wait hours for our technology to achieve a full charge. However, before we can enjoy faster charging speeds, scientists will have to make a few modifications. First and foremost will be the scaling up of material synthesis. Once that has been achieved, the researchers will have to work on designing an energy storage device that is compatible with pseudocapactive material. The team of scientists is already working on these next steps, and hopeful about the future of MXene and its charging capabilities.