UA Little Rock researchers develop new, low-cost method to create thin film electrodes for supercapacitors

Bijay Chhetri, a UA Little Rock biology doctoral student, and Dr. Charlette Parnell, forensic chemist at Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, are the lead authors of the article.

Researchers at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock have developed a new and inexpensive method to fabricate thin film electrode materials for supercapacitors that produce higher power at a lower cost. 

Supercapacitors are rechargeable energy storage devices that can deliver charge quickly for high power-density better than traditional batteries. They have the advantages of charging quickly and retaining their storage capacity for hundreds to thousands of recharging cycles. Supercapacitors are used in a variety of applications, including electric vehicles’ regenerative braking systems, wireless telecommunications, and high-powered lasers.

“In industrial applications, we can build the thin film electrode for high-performance supercapacitors in less than one hour via a simple technique using these low-cost materials, which can significantly speed the process and lower the cost of synthesis,” said Dr. Anindya Ghosh, professor of chemistry at UA Little Rock, who led the research team.

The team, made up of students and researchers from UA Little Rock and the University of Arkansas, recently published their findings. Bijay Chhetri, a UA Little Rock biology doctoral student, and Dr. Charlette Parnell, forensic chemist at Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, are the lead authors. The article, “Simultaneous Electrochemical Deposition of Cobalt Complex and Poly(pyrrole) Thin Films for Supercapacitor Electrodes,” was published in “Scientific Reports,” a publication in the “Nature” family of journals.

The research includes the development of an innovative, easy method to design thin films using a cobalt metal complex and conducting polymer for use in supercapacitors. This material costs less than many competing technologies, making it a potential game-changer for a wide range of real-world applications.

“Our approach to fabricate low-cost thin film electrode materials offers a feasible solution to fabricate supercapacitor devices with high power density and reduced production cost in real-world applications,” Chhetri said.

The researchers believes their work can help the scientific community, even outside the domain of supercapacitor electrodes.

“Our research embraces a novel method for improving the ongoing developments in this exciting field,” Parnell said. “With this supercapacitor material, we are helping pave the way toward using inexpensive catalysts and electrode materials for a more economical and benign approach. These materials provide a platform for further developing improved supercapacitors that will enhance modern technology for energy storage in automotive and railway transportation and overall power grid efficiency.”

The research was completed with financial support from the Center for Advanced Surface Engineering under the National Science Foundation Grant No. IIA-1457888 and the Arkansas EPSCoR Program, ASSET III.

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