Steven Yializis, Chief Operating Officer
The capacitance of a capacitor decreases with an increase in the distance between the plates for the simple reason that an increased distance weakens the attractive forces that lure and bind the electrons to the second plate. This phenomenon was one of the major stumbling blocks for the Department of Energy (DOE) when the U.S. government extensively pushed for the adoption of battery propelled electric vehicles (BEVs). The existing capacitors used thermoplastic polypropylene film as dielectric. Due to the legacy extrusion process, polypropylene films have a higher thickness, resulting in lower energy density for these components. Besides, as polypropylene film capacitors use thermoplastic polymer, they fail to withstand higher temperatures, which leads to a shorter lifespan for the capacitors. Thus, the Department of Energy (DOE) was actively seeking advanced capacitors that are smaller and can manage higher ripple currents while being cost-effective at the same time.
Addressing these pressing needs is Arizona-based PolyCharge– a company that develops and produces truly disruptive, high energy density, high-temperature capacitors through its proprietary NanoLam™ technology. PolyCharge’s NanoLam™ capacitors utilize super-thin polymer dielectric layers, formulated for high dielectric constant and excellent self-healing properties, that are formed in line with the metal electrode deposition process, resulting in a self-supported, large area, capacitor composite, which is segmented into individual self-healing capacitors. PolyCharge’s polymer dielectrics range in thickness from 200 to 750 nanometers, up to an order of magnitude thinner than the thinnest state-of-the-art polypropylene films. This allows NanoLam™ capacitors to offer 2x to 100x greater energy density compared to polypropylene film capacitors depending on the voltage rating.
Further, nano-layer dielectrics reduce weight by as much as 90 percent in contrast to multi-layer ceramic capacitors. “Our proprietary NanoLam™ Technology allows us to create extremely thin, uniform, and defect free dielectric layers that increase energy density and allow for uniform performance across a wide frequency, temperature, and voltage range,” states Steven Yializis, Chief Operating Officer at PolyCharge.
The entire NanoLam™ process happens in one machine that eliminates the need for extruded films, film metallization, and capacitor winding, altogether making PolyCharge capacitors one of the most cost-effective products in the market.
Instead of using thermostatic polymers, PolyCharge uses thermoset resin systems, enabling capacitors to withstand temperatures in excess of 180ºC. Unlike thermoplastic polymers, PolyCharge’s thermoset resin systems do not melt, increasing the lifespan of capacitors and eliminating catastrophic runaway failure modes. In essence, PolyCharge NanoLam™ capacitors exhibit stable capacitance, higher breakdown strength, and equivalent series resistance (ESR) across a broad temperature and frequency range with lifetimes measured in hundreds of thousands of hours.
Our proprietary NanoLam™ Technology allows us to create extremely thin, uniform, and defect-free dielectric layers that lead to significant improvements in energy density
PolyCharge’s NanoLam™ capacitors can also be mounted closer to the power module, resulting in lower inductance and greater efficiency. This benefit augurs especially well for applications that have no room for error, such as motorsports, medical, and aerospace applications. PolyCharge’s NanoLam™ capacitors have proved their mettle in the Formula E circuit, where the company helped one of its clients increase the power density of their inverter by 30 percent, replacing the DC link capacitor with its NanoLam™ technology. Along with the automotive industry, NanoLam™ capacitors are being used in a variety of applications, including renewable energy inverters, medical, aerospace, and industrial mobility.
With its ground-breaking innovative technology, PolyCharge has registered a steady growth year on year—even during the business disruption caused by Coronavirus. Going forward, the company plans to diversify its manufacturing base to satisfy the needs of the automotive, aerospace, and defense markets. Additionally, PolyCharge is also releasing a new class of ThermoLink® capacitor products based on its NanoLam™ technology that will allow OEMs to use the company’s capacitors in their own solution like Lego bricks instead of custom-designed products.