Four-Fold Increase in the Intrinsic Capacitance of Graphene through Functionalization and Lattice Disorder

Abstract:

Graphene has been heralded as a promising electrode material for high energy and power density electrochemical supercapacitors. This is in spite of recent work confirming the low double-layer capacitance (CDL) of the graphene/electrolyte interface limited by graphene’s low quantum capacitance (CQ), an effect known for the basal plane of graphite for over four decades. Consistent with this limit, much of the supercapacitor research implies the use of pristine graphene but, in contrast, uses a functionalized and defective graphene formed through the reduction of graphene oxide, without clarifying why reduced graphene oxide is needed to achieve high capacitance. Herein, we show that an optimal level of functionalization and lattice disorder in reduced graphene oxide yields a 4-fold increase in CDL over that of pristine graphene, suggesting graphene-based materials can indeed be tailored to engineer electrodes with significantly higher gravimetric capacitance limits exceeding 450 F/g than what has been achieved (∼ 274 F/g) thus far, even in nonaqueous electrolytes capable of high voltage operation.