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Nanotube defects equal better energy and storage systems

ase the charge associated with the defects by bombarding the CNTs with argon or hydrogen.

"It is important to control this process carefully as too many defects can deteriorate the electrical conductivity, which is the reason for the use of CNTs in the first place. Good conductivity helps in efficient charge transport and increases the power density of these devices," Bandaru added.

"At the very outset, it is interesting that CNTs, which are nominally considered perfect, could be useful with so many incorporated defects," he added.

The researchers think that the energy density and power density obtained through their work could be practically higher than existing capacitor configurations which suffer from problems associated with poor reliability, cost, and poor electrical characteristics.

Bandaru and Hoefer hope that their research could have major implications in the area of energy storage, a pertinent topic of today. "We hope that our research will spark future interest in utilizing CNTs as electrodes in charge storage devices with greater energy and power densities," Hoefer said.

While more research still needs to be done to figure out potential applications from this discovery, the engineers suggest that this research could lead to wide variety of commercial applications, and hope that more scientists and engineers will be compelled to work in this area, Bandaru said.

Meanwhile, Hoefer said this type of research will help fuel his future engineering career.

"It is remarkable how current tools and devices are becoming increasing more efficient and yet smaller due to discoveries made at the nanoscale," he said. "My time spent investigating CNTs and their potential uses at the Jacobs School will prepare me for my career, since future research will continue the trend of miniaturization while increasing efficiency."


Contact: Andrea Siedsma
University of California - San Diego

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