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This flower can be used as a lithium-ion battery or a super capacitor

This article was taken from the February 2013 issue of Wired magazine. Be the first to read Wired’s articles in print before they’re posted online, and get your hands on loads of additional content by subscribing online.

This delicate pink flower is a power storehouse. Made from the semiconductor germanium sulphide, the structure “can be used as a lithium-ion battery or a super capacitor”, says Linyou Cao, a material scientist at North Carolina State University, who co-authored a paper on the substance. The secret to its abilities is in its shape: each nanopetal is about 0.1mm long but only 20nm thick, and thousands of petals make up the flower. “Because of its surface area, more lithium ions can be crammed into this space than in a standard battery,” says Cao.
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