New material can make energy storage more efficient

London, Dec 18 (IANS) Researchers have discovered a material with special electric properties which might enable the production of better energy storage devices — the basis for smaller, faster and more efficient electronics.

Three years ago, physicists from University of Luxembourg had theoretically predicted the unusual characteristics of a particular composite material.

These calculations were later confirmed by experiment in cooperation with the Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal in Bordeaux, France, and resulted in the discovery of the so-called high-k-material.

“Materials with a high dielectric constant, so-called high-k-materials, are highly sought after,” said Tanja Schilling, head of the research project at University of Luxembourg.

The earlier calculations indicated that certain compound materials made of polymers and flaky graphene, unlike those made of polymers and carbon nanotubes, did not increase the conductivity of the material to the degree that was generally expected until then.

It was a surprising conclusion at the time which questioned the use of graphene in order to increase conductivity.

This prediction, however, led to the highly promising discovery: the effect that put the conductivity of the plastics-graphene-compound into question, causes it to have remarkable dielectric properties.

This means that one can generate a strong electric field inside of it – the fundamental property for the production of efficient capacitors, the researchers explained.

The findings appeared in the journal Nature Communications.

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