A research team from the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea recently unveiled an inexpensive energy storage device that can power wearable electronic devices like skin sensors using a supercapacitor made with graphene ink.
The ink is coated into flexible substrates, and has potential applications in remote medical monitoring and diagnosis on patient-worn medical devices. The research followed an increased demand for tiny, skin-worn electronic sensor devices, particularly because conventional similar monitors like ECG monitors and biosensors lack the energy storage capacity of sensors using graphene electrodes.
The team’s micro-supercapacitor has electrodes with interlocking teeth resembling combs, according to Graphene-info, but a device made in this way is expensive, and can only be done on rigid substrates. To get around that, the team developed a method of spraying graphene ink onto flexible substrates at specific angles and temperatures. The resulting micro-supercapacitor is just 23 micrometers thick, and capable of storing as much as four times as much energy as lithium-ion batteries.
The team says the sensor can be attached to wearable devices, and that their work proves “it’s possible to reduce the thickness of micro-supercapacitors for use in flexible devices, without degrading their performance.”