Capacitors in the limelight: Operation at high temperatures, better supercap chemistries
Component supplier AVX had a few examples of interesting capacitor technology designed for use in power circuits. Among the technologies on display were capacitors that use niobium oxide powder as the main material for the anode electrode. Dubbed OxiCap, they are said to be more reliable than tantalum capacitors. The reason is that niobium oxide has much higher ignition energy (200x) and much lower burning rate than pure metal materials such as tantalum. This feature comes in handy during overloads. After an overload, an OxiCap capacitor will continue to provide full capacitance though it will consume more power. Also on display were supercapacitors that use what’s called a proton-activated polymer system. They have a far wider voltage range than conventional supercaps made with organic electrolytes and work from 3.6 to 20 V (organics are typically limited to 5 V). AVX also says its BestCap devices have the most “capacitor-like” frequency response of all supercaps and have low ESR.
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