Effect of Asymmetric Performance of Ionic Liquid Electrolyte Ions on Maximum Operation Potential of Symmetric Supercapacitors

Tuesday, 7 October 2014: 17:00
Sunrise, 2nd Floor, Star Ballroom 4 (Moon Palace Resort)
K. L. Van Aken (Drexel University), M. Beidaghi (Drexel Nanomaterials institute, Department of Materials Science and Engineerring, Drexel University), and Y. Gogotsi (Dept of Mat. Sci. and Eng., Drexel University)
While known for their high-power performance compared to batteries, supercapacitors

lack the energy density capability for some energy storage applications. Since the

energy density of the device is proportional to the square of operating potential window,

increasing the potential window is an effective way to increase energy density of the

device. Ionic liquid electrolytes are beneficial for this reason since they can theoretically

operate at up to 6 V, though experimentally, the value is between 3-4 V depending on

the properties of electrode materials. By employing a novel electrochemical technique to

study symmetric supercapacitors of carbon electrodes and ionic liquid electrolytes, we

have found one of the possible reasons for smaller operation potential of ionic liquids

in practical applications. We observed that even for a symmetric device with electrodes

similar in size and weight, the different properties of cations and anions of the electrolyte

results in an asymmetric performance of the two similar electrodes. By performing a

systematical study on model electrode materials and ionic liquid electrolyte systems, we

show that a symmetric behavior of the electrode can be achieved by mixing ionic liquids

with different cation and anion properties. This ultimately results in a higher operation

potential window of the device and higher energy density. In our model electrochemical

device, onions like carbons (OLCs) were used to fabricate the device electrodes and two

ionic liquids EMI-TFSI and EMI-BF4 and their mixtures were used as electrolytes.