Urchin-like NiCoP coated with a carbon layer as a high-performance electrode for all-solid-state asymmetric supercapacitors†
To meet the requirements of high-performance and long lifespan supercapacitors, the development of electrode materials with better performance and stable structure is in high demand. Herein, an urchin-like NiCoP nanoarray coated with a carbon layer hybrid electrode (NiCoP@C-ULAs) has been successfully synthesized on a carbon cloth by an effective and goal-directed approach. The three-dimensional (3D) urchin-like precursor prepared via the solvothermal method integrates fascinating architectures, in which 1D nanospines favor charge transport and 2D ultrathin nanoflakes provide large active sites and short paths for ion diffusion, thus leading to the highest performance among the precursors. Subsequently, carbon coating and phosphorization were employed to synthesize the NiCoP@C-ULAs composite. The resulting NiCoP@C-ULAs exhibited a high specific area (201.9 m2 g−1), small average pore size (4.4 nm), ultrahigh specific capacity (1046 C g−1 at 1 A g−1) and superior rate capability (76.5% retention even at 20 A g−1). Remarkably, the cycling stability was enhanced from 55.1% to 86.3% at 8 A g−1 after 5000 cycles as compared with NiCoP-ULAs. The main reason for the significant improvement in the electrochemical performances is due to the unique structure and the synergistic effect of NiCoP with high specific capacity and the carbon coating with good mechanical stability. Furthermore, the all-solid-state NiCoP@C-ULAs//AC asymmetric supercapacitor delivers a high energy density of 37.1 W h kg−1 at a power density of 792.8 W kg−1 and outstanding cycling stability (91.4% of specific capacity retention after 10 000 cycles). The LEDs could be lit up by the assembled capacitors for several minutes, which suggests that the NiCoP@C-ULA electrodes possess enormous potential as energy storage and conversion devices in future.