Aligned carbon nanostructures based 3D electrodes for energy storage
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Energy Chemistry. 2015, 24 (5), 559-586. 10.1016/j.jechem.2015.08.013
Electrochemical energy storage systems with high specific energy and power as well as long cyclic stability attract increasing attention in new energy technologies. The principles for rational design of electrodes are discussed to reduce the activation, concentration, and resistance overpotentials and improve the active material efficiency in order to simultaneously achieve high specific energy and power. Three dimensional (3D) nanocomposites are currently considered as promising electrode materials due to their large surface area, reduced electronic and ionic diffusion distances, and synergistic effects. This paper reviews the most recent progress on the synthesis and application of 3D thin film nanoelectrode arrays based on aligned carbon nanotubes (ACNTs) directly grown on metal foils for energy storages and special attentions are paid on our own representative works. These novel 3D nanoelectrode arrays on metal foil exhibit improved electrochemical performances in terms of specific energy, specific power and cyclic stability due to their unique structures. In this active materials coated ACNTs over conductive substrate structures, each component is tailored to address a different demand. The electrochemical active material is used to store energy, while the ACNTs are employed to provide a large surface area to support the active material and nanocable arrays to facilitate the electron transport. The thin film of active materials can not only reduce ion transport resistance by shortening the diffusion length but also make the film elastic enough to tolerate significant volume changes during charge and discharge cycles. The conductive substrate is used as the current collector and the direct contact of the ACNT arrays with the substrate reduces significantly the contact resistance. The principles obtained from ACNT based electrodes are extended to aligned graphene based electrodes. Similar improvements have been achieved which confirms the reliability of the principles obtained. In addition, we also discuss and view the ongoing trends in development of aligned carbon nanostructures based electrodes for energy storage.