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Optically Controlled Supercapacitors with Semiconductor Embedded Active Carbon Electrodes

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posted on 2023-01-11, 22:23 authored by H. Grebel
Supercapacitors, S-C - capacitors that take advantage of the large capacitance at the interface between an electrode and an electrolyte - have found many short-term energy applications. We concentrate here on optically induced, electrical and thermal effects. The parallel plate cells were made of two transparent electrodes (ITO), each covered with semiconductor-embedded, active carbon (A-C) layer. While A-C appears black, it is not an ideal blackbody absorber that absorbs all spectral light indiscriminately. In addition to relatively flat optical absorption background, A-C exhibits two distinct absorption bands: in the near-IR and in the blue. The first may be attributed to absorption by OH- group and the latter, by scattering, possibly by surface plasmons. Here, optical and thermal effects of sub-micron size SiC particles that are embedded in A-C electrode, are presented. Similarly to nano-Si particles, SiC exhibits blue band absorption, but it is less likely to oxidize. Using Charge-Discharge (CD) experiments, the relative optically related capacitance increase may be as large as ~34% (68% when the illuminated area is taken into account). Capacitance increase was noted as the illuminated samples became hotter. This thermal effect amounts to 20% of the overall relative change using CD experiments. The thermal effect was quite large when the SiC particles were replaced by CdSe/ZnS quatum dots; for the latter, the thermal effect was 35% compared with 10% for the optical effect. When analyzing the optical effect one may consider two processes: ionization of the semiconductor particles and charge displacement under the cell's terminals - a dipole effect. Our model suggests that the capacitance increase is related to an optically induced dipole.



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