New method converts tree leaves into electronic devices
Scientists have discovered a new method to convert dried tree leaves into a porous carbon material that can be used to produce high-tech electronics. Researchers from Qilu University of Technology in China used a multi-step, yet simple, process to convert phoenix tree leaves into a form that could be incorporated into electrodes as active materials. The dried leaves were first ground into a powder, then heated to 220 degrees Celsius for 12 hours. This produced a powder composed of tiny carbon microspheres.
These microspheres were then treated with a solution of potassium hydroxide and heated by increasing the temperature in a series of jumps from 450 to 800 degrees Celsius. The chemical treatment corrodes the surface of the carbon microspheres, making them extremely porous. The final product, a black carbon powder, has a very high surface area due to the presence of many tiny pores that have been chemically etched on the surface of the microspheres.
The high surface area gives the final product its extraordinary electrical properties, said Hongfang Ma of Qilu University of Technology, who led the study published in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy. The researchers ran a series of standard electrochemical tests on the porous …read more