- A new super capacitor inspired by the onion has been developed by scientists.
- Super capacitors are currently used to power small devices such as toys.
- The new tech could provide enough energy to power a cell phone for weeks or a laptop battery for days.
Drawing on the layered design of tear-inducing onions, scientists have created a new super capacitor that is powerful enough -- and cheap enough -- to replace the larger, heavier capacitors used in consumer electronics such as computers and cells phones.
If commercialized, the new super capacitor could be fully charged in a second and, coupled to a normal battery, provide enough energy to power a cell phone for weeks or a laptop battery for days.
"If you open any computer, you will see a lot of these small, cylindrical round capacitors," said Vadym Mochalin, a scientist at Drexel University and a co-author on the new Nature Nanotechnology paper.
Capacitors, like batteries, store energy, but that's where most of the similarities end. Generally speaking, a battery, like the one inside your cell phone or laptop computer, stores energy chemically. That chemical energy is then converted into electrical energy.