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Drexel University’s Yury Gogotsi and colleagues recently needed an atom’s-eye view of a promising supercapacitor material to sort out experimental results that were exciting but appeared illogical. That view was provided by a research team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) computational chemists Bobby Sumpter and Jingsong Huang and computational physicist Vincent Meunier.

Gogotsi’s team discovered you can increase the energy stored in a carbon supercapacitor dramatically by shrinking pores in the material to a seemingly impossible size – seemingly impossible because the pores were smaller than the solvent-covered electric charge-carriers that were supposed to fit within them. The team published its findings in the journal Science.

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