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US academics have converted graphene into a foldable supercapacitor, in what could be a major advancement in the development of truly flexible electronic products.

The new component has been produced by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The capacitor is formed of two sheets of electrolyte-mediated graphene paper separated by an insulator layer of hydrogel.

The component harnesses both the electrical and mechanical properties of thegraphene. In tests it was shown that it held nearly 200 F/g of charge.

Importantly for flexible electronics it can folded down and stretched out to 8 times its original size. In tests the researchers repeated 1,000 stretch/relax cycles without recording a serious impediment to its performance.

The device is described in a paper published on 1 October in Scientific Reports.

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