Energy Applications of Nanotechnology - Capacitors: Then and Now - Theory of Capacitance

Theory of Capacitance

Understanding the concept of capacitance can be helpful in understanding why nanotechnology is such a powerful tool for the design of higher energy storing capacitors. A capacitor’s capacitance (C) or amount of energy stored is equal to the amount of charge (Q) stored on each plate divided by the voltage (V) between the plates. Another representation of capacitance is that capacitance (C) is approximately equal to the permittivity (ε) of the dielectric times the area (A) of the plates divided by the distance (d) between them. Therefore, capacitance is proportional to the surface area of the conducting plate and inversely proportional to the distance between the plates.

Using carbon nanotubes as an example, a property of carbon nanotubes is that they have a very high surface area to store a charge. Using the above proportionality that capacitance (C) is proportional to the surface area (A) of the conducting plate; it becomes obvious that using nanoscaled materials with high surface area would be great for increasing capacitance. The other proportionality described above is that capacitance (C) is inversely proportional to the distance (d) between the plates. Using nanoscaled plates such as carbon nanotubes with nanofabrication techniques, gives the capability of decreasing the space between plates which again increases capacitance.

Read more about this topic:  Energy Applications Of Nanotechnology, Capacitors: Then and Now

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