Accidental energy storage

The serendipitous discovery by researchers at Rice University of a nanoscopic coaxial cable could lead to a new energy storage system. The same cable might also be used in lab-on-chip devices, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). “At the outset, we were just curious to see what would happen electrically and mechanically if we took small copper wires known as interconnects and covered them with a thin layer of carbon,” explains study co-author Jun Lou. When Liu ran some electronic tests on his first few samples, the results were far from what he expected. The capacitance of the new nanocable is up to 143 microfarads per centimeter squared, better than the best previous results from microcapacitors.