Micro-supercapacitors embedded within microchips - Smaller and more efficient electronics to come

02/19/2016 - 20:08

After more than half a decade of speculation, fabrication, modeling and testing, an international team of researchers led by Drexel University’s Yury Gogotsi, PhD, and Patrice Simon, PhD, of Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France, have confirmed that their process for making carbon films and micro-supercapacitors will allow microchips and their power sources to become one and the same.

The discovery, which was reported in a recent edition of the journal Science, is the culmination of years of collaborative research by the team who initially created the carbide-derived carbon film material for microsupercapacitors and published the concept paper in Science in 2010.


Ref: On-chip and freestanding elastic carbon films for micro-supercapacitors. Science (12 February 2016 | DOI: 10.1126/science.aad3345


Integration of electrochemical capacitors with silicon-based electronics is a major challenge, limiting energy storage on a chip. We describe a wafer-scale process for manufacturing strongly adhering carbide-derived carbon films and interdigitated micro-supercapacitors with embedded titanium carbide current collectors, fully compatible with current microfabrication and silicon-based device technology. Capacitance of those films reaches 410 farads per cubic centimeter/200 millifarads per square centimeter in aqueous electrolyte and 170 farads per cubic centimeter/85 millifarads per square centimeter in organic electrolyte. We also demonstrate preparation of self-supported, mechanically stable, micrometer-thick porous carbon films with a Young’s modulus of 14.5 gigapascals, with the possibility of further transfer onto flexible substrates. These materials are interesting for applications in structural energy storage, tribology, and gas separation.