MrSeb writes: "What could possibly be cooler than graphene or carbon nanotubes? Rice University’s new material that consists of forests of carbon nanotubes grown on sheets of graphene, of course! This graphene/nanotube hybrid is as awesome as it sounds, too; we’re talking about a material that might be the single best electrode interface possible, potentially revolutionizing both energy storage (batteries, supercapacitors) and electronics. This new material basically consists of a sheet of graphene, with carbon nanotubes up to a length of 120 microns (0.12mm) growing off it, which is really rather impressive at this scale. If we scaled it up to actual trees, they would rise into outer space. Most importantly, though, is that the bonds between the graphene and nanotubes are completely seamless — as far as electrons are concerned, there is absolutely no resistance when transitioning between graphene and nanotube. Why is this important? Because this hybrid material has a ridiculously vast surface area: A single gram of the new material has a surface area of 2,000 square meters (21,500 sq ft) — half an acre of the most conductive material in the world. When it comes to energy storage, there is a direct correlation between energy density and the surface area of the electrodes — this new graphene/nanotube hybrid could result in significantly smaller batteries, or larger batteries that can do more work. In testing, Rice University created a supercapacitor with the new material that matches “the best carbon-based supercapacitors that have ever been made,” which is impressive because “we’re not really a supercapacitor lab, and still we were able to match the performance because of the quality of the electrode.”"
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