Paper supercapacitors could power ultra-thin computers

Stanford University today made public a new technique that could provide power on extremely thin devices. Single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) printed on paper treated with polyvinylidene fluoride could act as supercapacitors, storing energy. In addition to being very thin, the nanotubes would be extremely stable and would lose only a small amount of a potential charge after 2,500 cycles.

A similar method had been tried in the past, but as it had to be assembled from two substrates and couldn't be assembled as quickly. The new technique can be printed all at once and is both much faster and less expensive to make.

No timetables have been given for when devices would be made using SWNTs, but the Stanford team expects to use it for "real applications." It could be combined with printed processors and flexible displays to create devices just a fraction the thickness of existing technology, such as future versions of HP's soldier watch.

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