By: Regina Ramazzini

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has developed a solid-state ultracapacitor using a novel nanocomposite, dielectric material. The materials design is based on the internal barrier layer capacitance (IBLC) concept, and it uses novel dielectric and metallic conductive ink formulations.

The NASA solid-state ultracapacitor technology is based on the novel materials design and processes used to make the IBLC-type ultracapacitor. The IBLC concept is known to provide outstanding capacitance behavior but has been difficult to reproduce. NASA has developed a careful process to produce dielectric ink materials to be used in printed electronic applications with reproducibility. An individual cell is created by building electrodes on each side of the dielectric layer, and complete modules can be constructed by stacking multiple cells.  Closely related NASA innovations on dielectric and conductive ink (electrode) formulations are key to the ultracapacitor construct, and are included in the technology package. Target performance criteria of this technology include the following:  - Use of standard materials and processing methods - Robust solid-state device with no liquid electrolytes - High-energy density target energy densities of 60 J/cc at a minimum operating voltage   of 50 V - High dielectric breakdown strength (>250 V)  - Excellent pulse-power performance; rapid discharge and charge - Reliable performance under repeated cycling (>500,000 cycles)  Additional development work is underway to build and test complete capacitor modules and to further improve material properties and performance