Smart Devices Charging In Seconds Lures Enterprise Users

by Wrik Sen    Nov 23, 2016

How many times have you faced a ‘low battery’ challenge at the workplace or while in transit? And on how many such occasions have you cursed the manufacturers of your smartphone, tablet or even laptop? We believe that by now you might well have lost count of the times when you missed sending an important email from your tablet / laptop or failed to complete a mission critical call from your cellphone - all because the battery ran out on you. 

Supercapacitor

The problem often aggravates because of the time that a recharge usually takes as the device needs to get back up to its working capacity before one can get back to it with some expectation of delivering what you want. Well, looks like times are on the verge of a change. Scientists in the United States have come up with super capacitors that would end up charging devices in lightning quick time. 

The scientists at the University of Central Florida (UCF) have created flexible super capacitors,which would allow users to charge devices, within seconds. Apart from the fact that batteries typically tend to degrade after 18 months of use, this new development will allow for charging devices which can be plugged in more than 30,000 times for recharges. This is something which will not only change the consumer electronics segment, but also the IoT space, including industrial products such as electric vehicles, and other independent mobile devices. 

Nitin Choudhary, a postdoctoral associate at UCF put the word out simply, saying, “If we were to replace the batteries with these supercapacitors, you could charge your mobile phone in a few seconds and you wouldn’t need to charge it again for over a week.” The experiments have been carried out with various 2D materials, which are newly discovered and only a few atoms thick, applied to capacitors. Though Graphene with some other 2D materials have been used by other scientists in varied experiments, but the results from them are rather limited.

How it works?

Including the experts like Yeonwoong Jung, an assistant professor at UCF, researchers ended up creating supercapacitors, which are millions of nanometer-thick wires which are coated with shells of 2-D materials. The super conducive core allows fast electron transfer, for faster charging and discharging, Due to the uniformly coated shells in the integrated materials, especially the 2D materials being used, there is high yield of energy and power density.

Though it was already known that 2D materials meant for a great future in storing energy, the UCF development of the integration process for the new materials, there was a new potential realized when it came to storage and distribution of the electric power on the batteries.

Chaoudhary explained thus, “For small electronic devices, our materials are surpassing the conventional ones worldwide in terms of energy density, power density and cyclic stability.” While Cyclic stability is what defines how many times a device can be charged, drained, and then recharged before the batteries begin their degradation process. Lithium-Ion batteries currently in use mostly, can be used upto 1,500 times before the degradation sets in. Some of the recent formulations of 2D materials with supercapacitors can be used a few thousand times, but the UCF process developed product, would not degrade even after being used for 30,000 or more times.

What it means for the enterprise

When it comes to the enterprise segment, there is much potential of development and utility.

- New range of powerful consumer IoT devices can now be possible. Due to the fact that the form factor will be smaller and thinner, almost like a thin-sheet of paper, it would actually change the form factor of most futuristic devices as well. Each device would be able to run for longer periods, will be able to recharge more number of times, and do so at a far more rapid pace known till now.

- Industrial IoT devices would also get more robust, in a similar way already mentioned. They will be able to function for longer hours at a stretch, would not need frequent recharges, and even if recharged, would take a very short duration of time doing so. Hence, the number of devices, due to the utilitarian flexibility, will be more in number, and so will be their individual capacities.

- With electric cars becoming increasingly popular and other machines which traditionally used fossil or non-renewable fuel, will now be able to switch to high powered long-distance designs, and will eventually eliminate the use of traditional fuel altogether. The high storage capacity for electric power will run the vehicle or machine, and when it gets, a few seconds of a stoppage time with the charger, and will be ready to go as good as before.