0.6 mm supercapacitors for wearable & ultra-portable devices

May 26, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
CAP-XX (Sydney, Australia), recently announced flat supercapacitors in the “Thinline” series of single-cell parts; the company is a maker of supercaps for burst and back-up power, and has eliminated selected materials and changed processes to reduce thickness, and cut costs to below $1.

Claimed as the thinnest-available at 0.6 mm thick, and with prices starting at less than $1 in large volumes, Thinline was developed to address the size, weight and cost challenges of designing thin, sometimes disposable electronic devices for the Internet of Things (IoT). Examples include wearables (medical, fitness and health monitors, smart watches, drug delivery systems), portables (active credit cards, smartphones, RFID tags), and connected electronics (smart homes and smart buildings, electronic shelf labels, wireless sensor networks).

To reduce thickness and manufacturing costs, CAP-XX increased the power and energy density in its electrode materials to deliver equivalent performance in about half the volume, and eliminated the folded edges and copper terminals that contribute to thickness in its standard line supercapacitors. (For comparison, CAP-XX's thinnest traditional single-cell supercapacitor is 1.10 mm.)

CAP-XX supercapacitors employ nanotechnology construction that stores electrical charge in engineered carbon electrodes on aluminium foil, to minimise resistance and maximise capacitance. This electrode construction packs the highest energy and power densities possible into thin, prismatic packages.

Supercapacitors can handle peak power events, supporting batteries and energy harvesters configured to provide low-power current at maximum efficiency. This architecture allows designers to use smaller, cheaper, low-power batteries and extend their run-time and cycle life, or use intermittent ambient energy sources such as solar photovoltaic. Supercapacitors also enable ultra-quick device charging and wireless power transfer, and provide the backup needed for graceful shutdown and "last gasp" transmissions in mission-critical applications.

The Thinline idea was born while working with a customer designing a disposable insulin pump. "We figured out how to eliminate materials and change some processes to reduce costs and thickness," explained Anthony Kongats, CAP-XX CEO. Thinline works with thin-film, solid-state, and other low-power batteries such as coin cells/button cells, energy harvesting modules (solar, vibration/kinetic, RF, and other ambient energy sources), as well as inductive/wireless and cable/cradle fast-charging systems.

Key features of Thinline include:

Extremely thin, flexible packaging from 0.6 mm (600