Enhancement of the supercapacitive properties of laser deposited graphene-based electrodes through carbon nanotube loading and nitrogen doping†
Several technological routes are being investigated for improving the energy storage capability and power delivery of electrochemical capacitors. In this work, ternary hybrid electrodes composed of conducting graphene/reduced graphene oxide (rGO), which store charge mainly through electric double-layer mechanisms, covered by NiO nanostructures, for adding pseudocapacitance, were fabricated through a matrix assisted pulsed laser evaporation technique. The incorporation of multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) provokes an increase of the porosity and thus, a substantial enhancement of the electrodes’ capacitance (from 4 to 20 F cm−3 at 10 mV s−1). Volumetric capacitances of 34 F cm−3 were also obtained with electrodes containing just carbon nanotubes coated with NiO nanostructures. Moreover, the use of nitrogen containing precursors (ammonia, urea) for laser-induced N-doping of the nanocarbons also provokes a notable increase of the capacitance. Remarkably, N-containing groups in rGO–MWCNTs mainly add electric double layer charge storage, pointing to an increase of electrode porosity, whereas redox reactions contribute with a minor diffusion fraction. It was also observed that the loading of carbon nanotubes leads to an increase of diffusion-controlled charge storage mechanisms versus capacitive ones in rGO-based electrodes, the opposite effect being observed in graphene electrodes.