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Ion-Exchange Separators Suppressing Self-Discharge in Polymeric Supercapacitors


Supercapacitors offer superior cycle life and high power densities, but as energy storage devices, they are limited by self-discharge processes manifested as large potential decay and leakage current, resulting in loss of stored energy and low charging efficiency. To minimize Faradaic side reactions, this Letter has incorporated a sulfonate ion-exchange resin in separators to trap impurities and thereby suppress self-discharge in supercapacitors with PEDOT as redox electrodes. The versatile separator design is generally applicable to organic and aqueous electrolytes and compatible with a pH range of 0-14, while maintaining the device capacitance and rate performance. Temperature-dependent characteristics were analyzed to identify that the reduction of impurity concentration and diffusion was key to improve potential retention. Compared to devices using commercially available separators, the device here exhibited a lower leakage current and better charging efficiency. It was demonstrated to work with radio frequency energy-harvesting circuits and showed the potential to serve as an energy reservoir for wireless electronic applications.

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