Microtech2010 2010

Printed Supercapacitors Based on Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes on Cloth Fabric and Flexible Substrates

P-C Chen, H. Chen, J. Xu, C. Zhou
University of Southern California, US

Keywords: inkjet printer, carbon nanotubes, supercapacitors, metal oxide nanowires


Owning to the limited availability of fossil fuels and the development of hybrid electrical vehicles, there has been an increasing demand for next generation high-power energy sources. However, to provide the peak power, conventional charge devices, such as batteries, need to be bulky and heavy, which are not suitable for the next generation of portable electronic devices with the requirements of light weight, thin thickness, and good flexibility. Consequently, electrochemical capacitors (so-called supercapacitors), with the advantages of high power density (> 1-10 kW/kg), high energy density (0.5-10 Wh/kg), high cycling ability (>10,000), and light weight, have attracted enormous interests and are considered to be one of the best energy conversion and storage devices to fulfill future energy storage needs. Herein, we report a cost-effective and scalable deposition method which simply utilizes an off-the-shelf inkjet printer to print SWNT inks onto different substrates, including flexible substrates and cloth fabric. The inkjet printing method not only provides a noncontact deposition method for obtaining SWNT films, but also allows us to readily control the pattern thickness, uniformity, and size of printed patterns. An as-fabricated printed-SWNT supercapacitor exhibits a specific capacitance of 74 F/g, a measured energy density of 8.2 Wh/kg, a power density of 7.6 kW/kg, and a knee frequency of 158 Hz in a printable polymer electrolyte. Furthermore, in order to improve the device performance, we integrated RuO2 nanowires together with SWNT films and fabricated RuO2 nanowires / printed SWNT heterogeneous films. For the hybrid RuO2 nanowires / printed SWNT supercapacitors, we obtained a specific capacitance of 135 F/g, a measured energy density of 18.8 Wh/kg, and a knee frequency of 1,500 Hz in a printable polymer electrolyte, which represents more than 2-fold improvement compared to SWNT-only based electrodes. Importantly, these fully printed devices can be fully integrated with the fabrication process of current printed electronics and have great potential for the application of wearable energy storage devices.
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