Graphene Flagship partners Thales and M-SOLV have developed a large-scale spray coating tool, reportedly capable of meeting the high volume manufacturing requirements for high power graphene supercapacitors to be used in aerospace applications.

Thales has been working on incorporating graphene into supercapacitors since the start of the Graphene Flagship and has been able to significantly increase the storage potential of supercapacitor devices. "Using graphene, we have been able to increase the power of supercapacitors by five times. We deposited our supercapacitors using spray coating, enabling us to use a variety of substrates, thus allowing us to develop flexible, high power supercapacitors," said Dr. Paolo Bondavalli, Thales Research and Technology.

For these novel supercapacitors to be used to their full potential in the automotive or space industries, they need to be produced in a reliable and repeatable manner. Thales collaborated with M-SOLV to scale up their spray coating technique.

"At M-SOLV we are leaders in developing tools for deposition. Thus, working closely with Thales, we were excited to develop a larger scale, high throughput spray deposition tool with inline, equipped with real-time characterisations ranging from the temperature of the chuck to the density and thickness of the graphene layer," said Dr Maria Cann, Development Engineer for M-SOLV, "this enabled us to produce an innovative user interface for the tool with enabling high reproducibility."

"The spray coating machine developed by M-SOLV can be used to spray films that have a thickness from nanometres to dozens of microns," said Saied Jafaar, Thales Research and Development, "this machine is a preparation for the industrial scale because it can spray 30cm by 30cm at 200um of thickness in less than 10 minutes."

"Thales wants to achieve an operational prototype in two years to be used in space or air-crafts. In aeronautics alone we need to produce 300 thousand supercapacitors per year and this machine is a first step towards this goal," said Dr Bondavalli.