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Crumpling Graphene to Create Electrodes

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 02:11PM

Graphene seems to be a gift that just keeps on giving as researchers continue to find new ways to use it. Now those at MIT have found a very simple way to turn graphene paper into a stretchable electrode.

The wonder material is an atom-thick sheet of carbon that has many amazing properties due to this 2D structure, but in this case, multiple layers of graphene are combined to form a paper. This paper has been looked at before for use as electrodes in a supercapacitor, thanks to its high surface area to mass ratio, but not quite like this. The MIT researchers attached the paper to a polymer they had stretched out in two directions. They then released the polymer in one direction, and then the other. The first release caused the graphene paper to form parallel pleats, while the second crumpled it into chaotic folds. If the paper is stretched out again, the folds just smooth themselves out.

The researchers created a prototype supercapacitor with this material by placing an insulating hydrogel between two sheets, and as the hydrogel is also stretchable, the supercapacitor itself can survive being flexed and pulled. The crumpled graphene paper could also be used as electrodes in flexible batteries or in stretchable sensors.

Source: MIT

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