Graphene on silicon carbide can store energy

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The capacity of graphene on silicon carbide to store electrical charge can be increased by introducing defects into its surface, say researchers at Linköping University in Sweden.

“Graphene on silicon carbide can be made in larger areas than other types of graphene. If we can change the properties of the material in a controlled manner, it may be possible to tailor the surface for other functions. It may be possible, for example, to create a sensor that has its own built-in battery,” explained research engineer Mikael Syväjärvi.

According to the team, graphene does not react easily with its surroundings due to the high quality of the graphene layer and its innate inertness.

An on-going discussion among researchers in the field is whether it is possible to activate the graphene on the flat surface or whether it is necessary to have edges.

The LiU researchers investigated what happens when defects in the surface are introduced in a controlled manner, to better understand how the properties of graphene are related to its structure.

“An electrochemical process known as ‘anodising’ breaks down the graphene layer such that more edges are created. We measured the properties of anodised graphene and discovered that the capacity of the material to store electricity was quite high,” said research engineer Mikhail Vagin.