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MAY 2019 I PCB007 MAGAZINE 9 Right Electrolyte Doubles Material's Ability to Store Energy Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Na- tional Laboratory, Drexel University, and their partners have discovered a way to improve the energy density of promis- ing energy-storage materials with conductive, two-dimen- sional ceramics called MXenes. The findings are published in Nature Energy. Today's batteries offer high energy-storage capacity, but slow charging speeds limit their application in consum- er electronics and electric vehicles. Tomorrow's ener- gy-storage mainstays may be supercapacitors, which store charge at the surface of their electrode material for fast charging and dis- charging. However, they currently lack the energy density of batteries. "The energy storage community is conservative, us- ing the same few electrolyte solvents for all supercapaci- tors," said principal investigator Yury Gogotsi, a Drexel University professor who planned the study with his post- doctoral researcher Xuehang Wang. "New electrode mate- rials like MXenes require electrolyte solvents that match their chemistry and properties." The surfaces of different MXenes can be covered with diverse terminal groups, including oxygen, fluorine, or hy- droxyl species, which interact strongly and specifically with different solvents and dissolved salts in the elec- trolyte. A good electrolyte solvent-electrode match may then increase charging speed or boost storage capacity. "Our study showed that the energy density of superca- pacitors based on two-dimensional MXene materials can be significantly increased by choosing the appropriate sol- vent for the electrolyte," added co-author Lukas Vlcek of the University of Tennessee who conducts research in UT and ORNL's Joint Institute for Computational Scienc- es. "By simply changing the solvent, we can double the charge storage." (Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory) portunities, activity, and global economic forces at play in the market. Next, our conversations get more spe- cific, including discussions with John Andresakis and Jonathan Weldon from DuPont; Ken Parent from Insulectro; TUC America's Alan Cochrane; Sean Mirshafiei from Isola; and a second conversation specific to Panasonic materials with Tony Senese. Interspersed, you'll find columns from Dr. John Mitchell on industry outlooks, Jan Pedersen on traceability and reliabil- ity, Steve Williams on training new em- ployees, Todd Kolmodin on probers and testers, and Mark Ladle takes us on a brisk, poignant customer visit as a travel- ing engineer. In addition, we're proud to bring you a tour of Microtek Labs' Chinese facil- ity. Barry Matties and Edy Yu from the I- Connect007 China team spoke with Bob Neves about growing a business in China. This makes for quite a stack of informa- tion on materials. What we learned—and hope you will take away as well—is that understanding the current trends in mate- rials will require everyone from designers to material manufacturers and the entire manufacturing chain to talk, collaborate, and listen to each other to best master these new materials in the real world. But, after all this seriousness, we should also remember what A.A. Milne had to say about talk. "It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like 'What about lunch?'" May this issue make for engaging lunch- time reading. PCB007 Nolan Johnson is managing editor of PCB007 Magazine. Nolan brings 30 years of career experience focused almost entirely on electronics design and manufacturing. To contact Johnson, click here.

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