University of Minnesota
Institute of Technology
myU OneStop

Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Physics of Supercapacitors

Dr. Brian Skinner
Physics Department, University of Minnesota

Supercapacitors are electrical energy storage devices that are quickly replacing conventional batteries in high-power applications.  A number of these devices exhibit dramatically large capacitance, but the microscopic mechanisms that underlie their operation remain largely mysterious.  In this talk I discuss microscopic-level theories of charge storage in supercapacitors.  I focus in particular on two types of supercapacitors: 1) those made from highly-porous, well-conducting electrodes and 2) those made from a stack of graphene sheets.  I show that in both cases the devices' surprising properties can be understood by considering the spatial ordering of individual ionic charges and the electronic screening provided by the electrode.


Brian Skinner is a research associate in the Fine Theoretical Physics Institute at the University of Minnesota Where he works primarily on theories of strongly -correlated charged systems with an emphasis on new energy technologies. He received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Minnesota and holds a B.S. degree in physics and mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech.