CITRIS PI’s microcapacitors advance next generation of energy storage

Sayer Salahuddin in navy suit on left and Nirmaan Shanker in light blue shirt on left stand back to back in the lab room.

As published in the journal Nature, CITRIS researcher Sayeef Salahuddin and his team at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab have achieved unprecedented energy density levels in microcapacitors, tackling the demand for miniaturization and energy efficiency in the next generation of electronic devices.

A classic component of electric circuits, capacitors boast rapid power delivery and long lifespans in comparison to batteries. If able to fortify their energy densities, they could allow on-chip energy storage, a structural change that will reduce losses incurred from transporting power between device components.

Salahuddin’s lab has enabled just this; by engineering thin films of hafnium oxide and zirconium oxide that increase net capacitance and extending the films to three-dimensional microcapacitor structures, they have reached a product with nine-times the energy density and 170-times the power density of the best electrostatic capacitors today. The group’s next step is scale-up of their technology and integration into full-size microchips, while inspecting the fundamental materials science to continually optimize their result.

Fundamental work on this project was performed at the Berkeley Marvell Nanofabrication Laboratory at CITRIS.

Read more from Berkeley Lab.