GO-induced assembly of gelatin toward stacked layer-like porous carbon for advanced supercapacitors†
Layer-like nanocarbons with high surface area and good conductivity are promising materials for supercapacitors due to their good ability for effective charge-transfer and mass-transfer. In this paper, stacked layer-like porous carbon containing RGO (reduced graphene oxides) (LPCG) was constructed via the GO-induced assembly of gelatin followed by carbonization and activation processes. Under suitable conditions, LPCG-based materials with a thickness of about 100 nm and a high specific surface area (up to 1476 m2 g−1) could be obtained. In the materials, the closed combination of RGO and porous carbon can be observed, which is favourable for the development of the synergistic effects of both components. The presence of GO can not only enhance the conductivity of LPCG-based materials, but also is essential for the formation of a thin carbon sheet with a stacked structure. Otherwise, the plate-like, non-stacked carbon with a thickness of about 500 nm could be formed in the absence of RGO. The porous structure along with the presence of RGO allows rapid charge-transfer and easy access and diffusion of electrolyte ions. As a result, the materials exhibited a high discharge specific capacitance (455 F g−1 at 0.5 A g−1, 366 F g−1 at 1 A g−1), good rate capability (221 F g−1 at density 30 A g−1) and good cycling stability. In aqueous electrolytes, the energy density could be up to 9.32 W h kg−1 at a relatively low power density of 500 W kg−1 with a good cycling stability (>96% over 5000 cycles). It was found that (1) the rational combination of RGO and porous carbon is essential for enhancing the capacitance performance and improving the cycling stability and (2) the high conductivity is favorable for improving the rate performance of the materials. The LPCG-based materials have extensive potential for practical applications in energy storage and conversion devices.