The researchers explained that the liquid salt serves as a spacer to separate the thin graphene sheets, preventing them from stacking. That dramatically increases their exposed surface area, a key to maximizing energy-storage capacity. At the same time, the liquid salt doubles as the electrolyte needed to actually store electrical charge, minimizing the size and weight of the supercapacitor.
The innovation also uses a detergent to reduce the size of the droplets of oily salt – which is combined with water in an emulsion – to just a few billionths of a metre, improving their coating action. The detergent also functions like chemical Velcro to make the droplets stick to the graphene.
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