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Basirico L.,Institute of Advanced Technologies ITA | Lanzara G.,Institute of Advanced Technologies ITA | Lanzara G.,University of Rome
Journal of Power Sources | Year: 2014

A novel monolithic, pre-fabricated, fully functional film made of a nanostructured free-standing layer is presented for a new and competitive class of easy-to-assemble flexible supercapacitors whose design is in-between the all solid state and the traditional liquid electrolyte. The film is made of two vertically aligned multi-walled carbon nanotube (VANT) electrodes that store ions, embedded-in, and monolithically interspaced by a solution of microcrystalline cellulose in a room temperature ionic liquid (RTIL) electrolyte (1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate-EMIM Ac). The fine tuning of VANTs length and electrolyte/cellulose amount leads, in a sole and continuous block, to ions storage and physical separation between the electrodes without the need of the additional separator layer that is typically used in supercapacitors. Thus, physical discontinuities that can induce disturbances to ions mobility, are fully eliminated significantly reducing the equivalent series resistance and increasing the knee frequency, hence outclassing the best supercapacitors based on VANTs and non-aqueous electrolytes. The excellent electrochemical response can also be addressed to the chosen electrolyte that, not only has the advantage of leading to a significantly simpler and more affordable fabrication procedure, but has higher ionic conductivity, lower viscosity and higher ions mobility than other electrolytes capable of dissolving cellulose. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Basirico L.,Institute of Advanced Technologies ITA | Lanzara G.,Institute of Advanced Technologies ITA | Lanzara G.,Third University of Rome
Nanotechnology | Year: 2012

In this paper it is shown that the electrochemical behaviour of vertically aligned multi-walled carbon nanotube (VANT) supercapacitors is influenced by the VANTs length (electrode thickness), by their axial compression and by their interface with the current collector. It is found that the VANTs, which can be interpreted as a dense array of nanochannels, have an active area available to ions that is strongly affected by the electrodes thickness and compressional state. Consequently, the tested thinner electrodes, compressed electrodes or a combination of the two were found to be characterized by a significant improvement in terms of power density (up to 1246%), knee frequency (58822% working up to 10kHz), equivalent series resistance (ESR, up to 67%) and capacitance (up to 21%) when compared with thicker and/or uncompressed electrodes. These values are significantly higher than those reported in the literature where long VANTs with no control on compression are typically used. It is also shown that the ESR can be reduced not only by using shorter and compressed VANTs that have a higher conductance or by improving the electrode/collector electrical contact by changing the contact morphology at the nanoscale through compression, but also by depositing a thin platinum layer on the VANT tips in contact with the current collector (73% ESR decrease). © 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd.

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