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Structure of Supercapacitors

Supercapacitors utilize a phenomenon in which electric charges are oriented at the extremely thin boundary between the electrolyte and the electrodes (electric double-layer) to physically store electric charge. In conventional capacitors, like aluminum electrolytic capacitors, a dielectric (insulator) is sandwiched between two electrodes to which a voltage is applied. This orients the dipoles and stores electric charge. Supercapacitors utilize a phenomenon in which electric charges are oriented at the extremely thin boundary between the electrolyte and the electrodes (electric double-layer) to physically store electric charge [Fig. 1]. The electrodes in supercapacitors use activated carbon with a large specific surface area.

 

 
    [Fig. 1] Principle of  supercapacitors


As shown above, as opposed to utilizing a chemical reaction like secondary batteries do,  supercapacitors store energy using only physical adsorption of ions on the surface of the activated carbon.
 
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