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Korean research promises cheaper, higher performing supercapacitors

09 July 2013

South Korean researchers suggest that 3D mesoporous graphene nano-balls could greatly enhance the performance of supercapacitors.

3D mesoporous graphene
3D mesoporous graphene

Graphene has been recognised as a promising active material for supercapacitors due to its outstanding electrical conductivity and large surface area - the two most important requirements for supercapacitors.

Among the various methods for the fabrication of graphene sheets, the chemical vapour deposition (CVD) technique is the most preferred. But scalability is an issue when it comes to commercialising this process.

The research team, led by Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology's (UNIST's) Professor Ji-Hyun Jang, previously reported a novel approach to synthesize chemical vapour deposition-grown three-dimensional graphene nano-networks that can be mass produced while retaining the excellent properties of 2D graphene (see Scientific Reports, May 2013).

Professor Jang has now demonstrated a novel route to obtaining a mass-reproducible mesoporous graphene nano-balls with large surface area and high conductivity via the CVD process, using metal precursors as a catalyst.

Compared with conventional graphene synthesis, this new technique from UNIST is scalable and able to produce high quality graphene with better environmental outcomes.

Mesoporous graphene balls significantly improve the capacity of supercapacitors. The mesoporous structure allows three-dimensional networks to be formed, which help to improve conductivity. Furthermore, mesopores inside the graphene surfaces induce nanochannels to transport ions in electrolyte, and improve the properties of the supercapacitor.

Professor Jang says that further work to improve the properties of mesoporous graphene could lead to the development of high power electric vehicles.

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