Magnetic core

Mesoporous silica shell for enhanced DNA binding

Easy purification using a simple  electromagnet

Supercapacitors: The Energy Source of the Future?

It should come as no surprise that the modern world requires massive amounts of electricity. While we're pretty good at producing electricity, our storage technology is lack luster at best. Right now the primary means of storing electricity is in lithium ion batteries. Almost every device has one of these  at it's core. 

 

However lithium batteries are rife with issues that have yet to be addressed. To start, the lithium that is required to run the cells is a very limited resource on earth, so as more batteries are produced the price of the raw material will continue to grow rapidly. Further, the electolytes required to store the maximum amount of energy are almost universally carcinogenic or toxic and highly flamable. Add to that the relatively rapid cell degradation and you got flammable, toxic devices that only work properly for a year or two. 

 

At this point no one can say for sure what will replace lithium ion batteries, but one of the largest contenders are supercapcitors. These devices offer a potentially much higher energy and power density, have much higher cycle stability meaning they could last for many years, can be made non toxic and water based, and can be made without using lithium. 

 

With a laundry list of traits that good, why haven't these devices reached the mass market? The issue stems from the difficulty in constructing these cells. While many cells have been made that can outcompete lithium in a lab, most are made of expensive or difficult to prepare materials. So the race is on to find a way to significantly reduce the price and difficulty to manufacture. And this is where our research comes in.

 

Our focus is on the production of a completely non toxic, easy to produce supercapacitor. Additionally it must be able to at least compete against a lithium battery of the same size. We use a variety of nanomaterials and an assortment of synthesis methods to produce materials that are up to the task. We work extensively with materials like graphene and a variety of inorganic semiconductors to make this possible.

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