Wearable electronics have become a ubiquitous type of portable electronics in the mobile device space mostly in the form of watches, sports bands or health monitors.
Soon, however, these wearables could become more comfortable in the form of soft wearables powered by an interesting element—green tea.
Researchers at the American Chemical Society (ACS) have developed a new flexible and compact rechargeable energy storage device in the form of squishy supercapacitors bathed in green tea.
While the idea of soft wearables is desirable, finding a long-lasting energy source for these devices is a challenge, researchers say. Supercapacitors could potentially be the solution as they can rapidly charge and discharge many times. But, most supercapacitors are inflexible with many attempts to make them flexible resulting in poor performance.
ACS experimented with using prepared polymer gels in green tea extract in order to see if this would be a better way to get supercapacitors to perform more efficiently. The green tea polyphenols converted a silver nitrate solution into a coating of silver nanoparticles. Thin layers of conducting gold and poly were then applied.
The result was a supercapacitor that has power and energy densities of 2,715 watts per kilogram and 22 watt-hours per kilogram, respectively. This is enough power to operate a heart rate monitor, light emitting diode or a Bluetooth module.
Researchers found the device was durable and performed well even after being compressed more than 100 times.