Conductive nanodiamond supercapacitors offer increased energy storage

Scientists have been working on new methods of energy storage for years. One thing that scientists have been investigating as a replacement to modern lithium-ion batteries is a supercapacitor. The issue with supercapacitors today is that they are unable to store as much energy as needed for some usages. A group of scientists out of Japan has produced a new type of supercapacitor that uses conductive nanodiamond as electrode material.

The result is a high-performance energy storage device that is suited to applications where rapid charging and discharging occurs over long durations. The big benefit of a supercapacitor is its ability to charge and discharge more rapidly than conventional batteries. They can also last or much longer.

This capacity makes them ideal for usage scenarios like regenerative braking in EVs, wearable electronics, and more. One big issue with modern supercapacitors is low energy density. The Japanese team has used boron-doped nanodiamond as an electrode. This material was chosen because the team knew that boron-doped diamonds have a wide potential window enabling high-energy storage devices to remain stable over time.

The team uses something called microwave plasma-assisted chemical vapor deposition to manufacture these electrodes and examined their performance by testing their properties. In a basic two-electrode system with an aqueous sulfuric acid electrolyte, the electrodes produced much higher voltage than did conventional cells resulting in much higher energy and power density for the supercapacitor.

The team then explored if the electrode would show the same results if the electrolyte was changed to a saturated sodium perchlorate solution. That setup resulted in considerably expanded voltage generation. It's unclear when or if supercapacitors of this type will make it into production.