Charge-storage mechanism of highly defective NiO nanostructures on carbon nanofibers in electrochemical supercapacitors†
An electrode composed of highly defective nickel oxide (NiO) nanostructures supported on carbon nanofibers (CNFs) and immersed in an Li+-based aqueous electrolyte is studied using Raman spectroscopy under dynamic polarization conditions to address the charge-storage phenomenon. By this operando technique, the formation of Li2SO4·H2O during the discharge process is verified. At the same time, we observed the phase transformation of NiO to NiOOH. The Ni(OH)2/NiOOH redox couple is responsible for the pseudocapacitive behavior with intercalation of cationic species in the different Ni structures. A ‘substitutive solid-state redox reaction’ is proposed to represent the amphoteric nature of the oxide, resulting in proton intercalation, while the insertion of Li+ occurs to a less extent. The electrode material exhibits outstanding stability with 98% coulombic efficiency after 10 000 charge–discharge cycles. The excellent electrode properties can be ascribed to a synergism between CNFs and NiO, where the carbon nanostructures ensured rapid electron transport from the hydrated nickel nanoparticles. The NiO@CNF composite material is a promising candidate for future applications in aqueous-based supercapacitors. DFT simulation elucidates that compressive stress and Ni-site displacement lead to a decrease up-to 3.5-fold on the electron density map located onto the Ni-atom, which promotes NiO/Ni(OH)2/NiOOH transition.
- This article is part of the themed collections: Nanoscale Horizons and Nanoscale: Nanomaterials for Energy and 2021 Nanoscale HOT Article Collection