Researchers at Rice University, led by James Tour, have created single-surface material for electronics and energy storage. The Rice team has developed a seamless graphene/nanotube hybrid that just might be the most successful electrode interface possible.
Tour and his team have developed forests of nanotubes that grow vertically from sheets of graphene up to lengths up to 120 microns. To comprehend the scope – if this same aspect ratio was applied to an average plot of land with a house in the center, the house and plot of land would rise far into space. So, when the nanotube dimensions are extrapolated, this translates into a huge volume of storage space.
The graphene in the hybrid is made up of a sheet of carbon one atom thick and combined with nanotubes into a three-dimensional structure. Covalent bonds keep the atoms completely stable, making the graphene and nanotubes seamless.
The hybrid may translate to faster supercapacitor since the combination of graphene and nanotubes produces considerable surface area which has the ability to contain a huge amount of energy in a very small space.
The nanotubes developed at Rice University are groundbreaking because they have become a part of the graphene sheet instead of merely sitting on top. In the past, no one has been successful at attaching nanotubes to graphene, so this is a real victory for the researchers. Tour has noted that the results from his study demonstrate success as well as any carbon-based supercapacitor .He attributes the success entirely to the nanotube/graphene interface.
Sprits are high since the performance in the study points to future possibilities of building better, more efficient supercapacitors.