Ionic liquid based EDLCs: influence of carbon porosity on electrochemical performance
Electrochemical double layer capacitors (EDLCs) are a category of supercapacitors; devices that store charge at the interface between electrodes and an electrolyte. Currently available commercial devices have a limited operating potential that restricts their energy and power densities. Ionic liquids (ILs) are a promising alternative electrolyte as they generally exhibit greater electrochemical stabilities and lower volatility. This work investigates the electrochemical performance of EDLCs using ILs that combine the bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide anion with sulfonium and ammonium based cations. Different activated carbon materials were employed to also investigate the influence of varying pore size on electrochemical performance. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and constant current cycling at different rates were used to assess resistance and specific capacitance. In general, greater specific capacitances and lower resistances were found with the sulfonium based ILs studied, and this was attributed to their smaller cation volume. Comparing electrochemical stabilities indicated that significantly higher operating potentials are possible with the ammonium based ILs. The marginally smaller sulfonium cation performed better with the carbon exhibiting the largest pore width, whereas peak performance of the larger sulfonium cation was associated with a narrower pore size. Considerable differences between the performance of the ammonium based ILs were observed and attributed to differences not only in cation size but also due to the inclusion of a methoxyethyl group. The improved performance of the ether bond containing IL was ascribed to electron donation from the oxygen atom influencing the charge density of the cation and facilitating cation–cation interactions.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Carbon in Electrochemistry