Transforming graphite oxide (GO) into a full-fledged supercapacitor turns out to be a simple process, but until recently, was anything but obvious. Scientists already knew that the heat of a laser could convert GO—the oxidized form of graphite, or carbon-based pencil lead—into electrically conducting reduced graphite oxide (RGO).
Researchers from Rice University discovered that by writing patterns of RGO into thin sheets of GO, they could effectively turn them into free-standing supercapacitors with the ability to store and release energy over thousands of cycles. The surprising find is that when hydrated, GO can hold ions and serve as a solid electrolyte and an electrically insulating separator.
“This is quite easy, as GO soaks up water like a sponge and can hold up to 16 percent of its weight,” says graduate student Wei Gao.
Full story at Futurity.
(Photo credits: Jeff Fitlow; Ajayan lab)