Laser swords in the laboratory to store energy
EL PERIÓDICO and the Barcelona Materials Science Institute (ICMAB, CSIC) will publish a series of videos and articles every Wednesday until September 7 as part of the popular science project ‘YouMaker: this is how science is done’. This is content in which various experts will explain in a didactic way the processes for preparing materials used in the fields of energy, electronics and medicine, such as batteries or solar cells, from their laboratories and with the participation of professional science communicators.
Just as lasers can be used in hospitals to correct myopia in the eye with extreme precision, retouching the cornea, they can also be used to create new materials. They have some features that go very well in this sense: they can heat the area they touch almost instantly to very high temperatures, and they can do it very locally and precisely, without affecting their surroundings.
In the ICMAB Laser Processing group, led by researcher Ángel Pérez, they have it very clear, and they have been using lasers for many years as the main technique to prepare new materials. They have them as dominated as the Jedi Knights the laser swords. They are currently being used to create graphene-based supercapacitors. Two words you may not know, but now you will learn: supercapacitors are battery-like devices that can store energy and release it when needed. The difference is that they can release that energy much more quickly. Graphene is a material derived from carbon. In fact, it is made up of a single layer of carbon atoms, which makes it very thin and transparent, but it is very resistant and conducts electricity very well. That is why it works very well for applications where low weight but high conductivity is required. In addition, it allows other components to be linked and is easily modifiable, thus creating new derivatives.
With lasers, Ángel Pérez’s group prepares supercapacitors based on graphene and other materials quickly and efficiently. They are investigating how to create supercapacitors that can store more energy by creating new nanostructures. If you want to know more about this topic, don’t miss the video “How are graphene supercapacitors made?” with science communicator Anna Morales and ICMAB researcher Ángel Pérez in the framework of the YouMaker project: this is how science is done. They will explain in greater detail the laser techniques they use in their laboratory and what materials they obtain.
“YouMaker” is a project of the Barcelona Institute of Materials Science (ICMAB, CSIC) in collaboration with the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) of the Ministry of Science and Innovation.