Nanotube Superbatteries

Pure thin films of carbon nanotubes can store and carry large amounts of electrical charge, making them promising electrode materials.

Published: 09-Jan-2009

By Katherine Bourzac

Researchers at MIT have made pure, dense, thin films of carbon nanotubes that show promise as electrodes for higher-capacity batteries and supercapacitors. Dispensing with the additives previously used to hold such films together improved their electrical properties, including the ability to carry and store a large amount of charge.

Carbon nanotubes can carry and store more charge than other forms of carbon, in part because their nanoscale structure gives them a very large surface area. But conventional methods for making them into films leave significant gaps between individual nanotubes or require binding materials to hold them together. Both approaches reduce the films' conductivity--the ability to convey charge--and capacitance--the ability to store it.

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