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Comment Processing & Handling

A polarizable membrane for improved energy storage

By Paul Grad |

The two basic energy-storage devices — dielectric and double-layer capacitors — entail serious limitations. Dielectric capacitors have low capacitance, on the order of 0.1 to 1.0 µF/cm2, while the double-layer capacitor has a high capacitance, on the order of 0.5 to 5.0 F/cm2, but suffers from difficulties in scaling up and high fabrication costs. Now researchers from the National University of Singapore (www.nus.edu.sg), led by Xie Xian Ning, have developed a highly polarizable membrane for energy storage with a capacitance of 0.2 F/cm2, a large open circuit voltage of 3 V, and which is simple, readily scalable, and of low fabrication cost. The membrane consists of a fixed negative matrix and condensed positive ions. When the membrane is sandwiched between two metal plates and charged, the mobile cations are polarized (or decondensed), which means they are displaced in the direction of the charging voltage, while the immobile negative lattice remains intact. Thus the energy storage is based on bulk polarization, instead of surface double layer formation. The nominal specific surface area of the membrane (about 100 cm2/g) is quite low. An important feature of the solid state membrane is that it does not require a…
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