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Laser-Induced Graphene ‘Super’ For Electronics

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A schematic shows the process developed by Rice University scientists to make vertical microsupercapacitors with laser-induced graphene. The flexible devices show potential for use in wearable and next-generation electronics. Click on the image for a larger version. Image Credit: Rice University/Courtesy of the Tour Group.

Rice University scientists advanced their recent development of laser-induced graphene (LIG) by producing and testing stacked, three-dimensional supercapacitors, energy-storage devices that are important for portable, flexible electronics. The Rice lab of chemist James Tour discovered last year that firing a laser at an inexpensive polymer burned off other elements and left a film of porous graphene, the much-studied atom-thick lattice of carbon. The researchers viewed the porous, conductive material as a perfect electrode for supercapacitors or electronic circuits. An electron microscope image shows the cross section of laser-induced graphene burned into both sides of a polyimide substrate. The flexible material created at Rice University has the potential for use in electronics or for energy storage. Click on the image for a larger version.  To prove it, members of the Tour group have since extended their work to make vertically aligned supercapacitors with laser-induced graphene on both sides of a polymer sheet. The sections are then stacked with solid electrolytes in between for a multilayer sandwich with multiple microsupercapacitors. The flexible stacks show excellent energy-storage capacity and power potential and can be scaled up for commercial applications. LIG can be made in air at ambient temperature, perhaps in industrial quantities through roll-to-roll processes, Tour said.