back to article Boffins use DVD burner to scale graphene supercapacitors

One of the challenges in shrinking electronics is that some parts, like capacitors, stubbornly resist being minaturised. The charge-carrying capacity of a conventional capacitor is, after all, partly a function of the surface area of its plates. Graphene is known to have properties that make it attractive as a “supercapacitor …

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  1. Martin Budden Bronze badge
    Go

    I eagerly await independent verification!

    If this breakthrough is all it claims to be it is wonderful indeed. I really hope it turns out to be true.

  2. Spender

    Crafty sods. Nice.

  3. Stephen 27
    WTF?

    El-Kady

    Been many, many years since you had to use an el- caddie for your CD. What's more Graphite Oxide? Isn't that carbon dioxide? Is someone pulling someone's lower limb?

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: El-Kady

      What's more Graphite Oxide? Isn't that carbon dioxide? Is someone pulling someone's lower limb?

      No,

      Graphite (Carbon) Oxide = 1 Carbon and 1 Oxygen

      Carbon Dioxide = 1 Carbon and 2 Oxygen

      1. DayDragon

        Re: El-Kady

        Carbon Monoxide then?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. WTF

    GO is basically graphite with an oxygen atom added every n molecules.

    Think semiconductor doping here, in this case it becomes more conductive in one plane a bit like when you add indium to tin oxide.

    I did read somewhere that GO could be considered an N type material where graphene would be P type.

    This means that it could be laser printed solar cells next.

    AC/DC 6EQUJ5

  5. Old Handle

    I'm skeptical

    It seems odd that they don't say anything specific about the capacitance of the things. Somehow I doubt "super" is really the right adjective.

    1. FartingHippo
      Holmes

      Re: I'm skeptical

      Watching the vid it seems as though it's halfway between a capacitor and a battery. Super-quick recharge (capacitor) and then longish discharge (battery).

      Super capacitor is a lot more media-friendly than "cattery" or - heaven forbid - "battacitor".

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: I'm skeptical

        "Batacitor" was the hardest thing to get past when I read "Riverworld", but after years of reading "supercap" (and seeing it credited with the most ridiculous possibilities by people who don't do science) I'm ready to give the word a chance.

    2. Pet Peeve
      Boffin

      Re: I'm skeptical

      "Super capacitor" is a perfectly ordinary term. I've also seen "ultra capacitor" and "hyper capacitor". Top-end supercaps run in the tens of farad range. From the quick demo showing it hooked directly to a LED and running it for 10 minutes, I plugged some numbers into a capacitor discharge calculator, and it would be about a farad at 3.5 volts. At the size shown, that's not bad at all!

      Using a dvd burner to manufacture them is insanely cool. If this all works out, and it sure looks like it should if it's on the level, this is a pretty huge deal.

  6. unitron

    Why a DVD?

    Wouldn't a CD blank (or an old coaster) be cheaper?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why a DVD?

      It uses the lightscribe portion of the writer to bake the graphene structure.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Why a DVD?

      CDs are about £0.10p each; I haven't seen coasters that cheap.

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    A very neat hack.

    I'm wondering if the disk spins while it's being written?

    I suspect at least part of the "supercapacitiance" is the fact the layer is 1 atom thick and so could be stacked to give a high capacitance level on that basis.

    Thumbs up not so much for the technique as the implementation on hardware that does not need a vacuum chamber and a couple of $m to buy.

    1. annodomini2

      Re: A very neat hack.

      "I'm wondering if the disk spins while it's being written?"

      Yes it does

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LightScribe

  8. jai

    at last a use for it!

    i've got one of these dvd writers. seemed like such an awesome idea - burn a disc, and at the same time, burn the label to tell you what's on it!

    sadly, the reality wasn't as good as i'd imagined it would be, and while the labels were readable, you mostly had to be in the right light holding it at the right angle. so i think i only used the Lightscribe part perhaps 3 times, it's been used as a regular dvd drive ever since.

    but now! now at least i can feel that it wasn't completely wasted money! now i have something useful. if i can just get someone to employ me to make them supercapacitors....

    1. annodomini2

      Re: at last a use for it!

      Assuming you can actually get it to recognise the disc and work.

  9. James 51 Silver badge

    Print your own electronics. Combined with 3D printing... the future is go!

    1. Bodestone

      Indeed

      http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=2851

  10. Alan Bourke

    I have a machine with a LightScribe drive in it.

    Finally - a use for it has emerged.

  11. cortland

    Printed report

    http://hackadaycom.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/laser-scribing-of-high-performance-and-flexible-graphene-based-electrochemical-capacitors.pdf

    Because my sound cards are all dedicated to radio comms and reading is faster.

    1. johnnymotel
      Thumb Up

      the full report

      I have no idea how it works or what it could be scaled to, but isn't the big failing of renewable power generation that unused power can not be economically stored. Seems to me this is a possible answer. Clearly there are some very bright folk out there!!

  12. M Gale

    Could you get hold of a few for LOHAN tests?

    See title. Wonder if a small prototype would hold a charge all the way up to however-many-ISS-lengths high, and dump enough current to start a rocket motor up?

  13. MVS
    Trollface

    I'd rather skip burning DVDs, so last decade, and just download the capacitors to my system. Wonder if that would run afoul of RIAA..?

  14. robin48gx
    Meh

    How many uFs per cap did they get?

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