Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and UC Santa Cruz have demonstrated what might be the world's first 3D-printed graphene composite aerogel supercapacitor, using a technique known as direct-ink writing. The researchers suggest that their ultra-lightweight graphene aerogel supercapacitors may open the door to novel designs of highly efficient energy storage systems for smartphones, wearables, implantable devices, electric cars and wireless sensors.
The key factor in developing these novel aerogels is creating an extrudable graphene oxide-based composite ink and modifying the 3D printing method to accommodate aerogel processing. The 3D-printed graphene composite aerogel (3D-GCA) electrodes are lightweight, highly conductive, and exhibit excellent electrochemical properties. Supercapacitors using these 3D-GCA electrodes with thicknesses on the order of millimeters display exceptional capacitive retention (ca. 90% from 0.5 to 10 A·g−1) and power densities (>4 kW·kg−1).