Researchers engineered a novel material that can enhance the charging rates significantly.
Lithium ion (li-ion) batteries exhibit high-energy density, but they struggle when it comes to high charging rates, and their electrolytes exhibit some safety concerns. Supercapacitors, on the other hand, have high charging rates and can deliver high power, but their energy density is limited.
Researchers from Tulane University have indicated a new material that has the potential to reduce charging times from hours to a matter of minutes. The work appeared in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.
“The performance we are getting—in terms of energy and power density—is outstanding and bridges the gap between batteries and capacitors,” said Michael Naguib, who led the research.
The development involves MXenes, promising energy storage materials that are conductive and can host ions, such as lithium, between layers. Room temperature ionic liquids provide stability and a larger energy density, and thus are preferred. But because their ions are large and unable to get between the MXene layers, the amount of energy stored is limited.
“Here we introduced wedges or pillars between the layers to open them up, allowing the ionic liquid ions to get stored between the MXene layers, thus achieving very high energy and power densities,” Naguib said.
According to him, the importance of optimizing and engineering the spacing in 2D materials to unlock their potential for new applications.