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Open Access Publications from the University of California

"rocking-Chair"-Type Metal Hybrid Supercapacitors

  • Author(s): Yoo, HD
  • Han, SD
  • Bayliss, RD
  • Gewirth, AA
  • Genorio, B
  • Rajput, NN
  • Persson, KA
  • Burrell, AK
  • Cabana, J
  • et al.

© 2016 American Chemical Society. Hybrid supercapacitors that follow a "rocking-chair"-type mechanism were developed by coupling divalent metal and activated carbon electrodes in nonaqueous electrolytes. Conventional supercapacitors require a large amount of electrolyte to provide a sufficient quantity of ions to the electrodes, due to their Daniell-type mechanism that depletes the ions from the electrolyte while charging. The alternative "rocking-chair"-type mechanism effectively enhances the energy density of supercapacitors by minimizing the necessary amount of electrolyte, because the ion is replenished from the metal anode while it is adsorbed to the cathode. Newly developed nonaqueous electrolytes for Mg and Zn electrochemistry, based on bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide (TFSI) salts, made the metal hybrid supercapacitors possible by enabling reversible deposition on the metal anodes and reversible adsorption on an activated carbon cathode. Factoring in gains through the cell design, the energy density of the metal hybrid supercapacitors is projected to be a factor of 7 higher than conventional devices thanks to both the "rocking-chair"-type mechanism that minimizes total electrolyte volume and the use of metal anodes, which have substantial merits in capacity and voltage. Self-discharge was also substantially alleviated compared to conventional supercapacitors. This concept offers a route to build supercapacitors that meet dual criteria of power and energy densities with a simple cell design.

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