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Electrochemical capacitors based on controlled porosity carbons and ionic liquids: role of pores, their sizes and accessibility for electrolyte ions


Nowadays needs for energy storage resulted in extensive research on electrochemical capacitors (ECs), based on activated carbon electrodes. The advantage of such devices is in the possibility of high-density energy storage as a result of developed surface area and pore volume of carbon materials. In the EC systems, aqueous, non-aqueous and solid polymer electrolytes have been used. In this proposal, we suggest using a new type of electrolyte, ionic liquids, which are organic salts consisting entirely of ion s and remaining in the liquid state at ambient conditions. Moreover, practically lack of vapour pressure makes them environmentally friendly liquids.

A few recent studies of applications of ionic liquids as electrolytes for ECs point as a significant advantage the high capacity, comparable to that for solutions of organic salts and also the possibility to store high energy due to a broader practical electrochemical stability window. The application of ionic liquids as electrolytes can also bring another advantage, which is in lack of the solvent whose presence and interactions with ions (solvation) and with carbon surface must affect the performance of those devices. To investigate these effects, activated carbons with well-defined pore sizes are needed, which is not the case for traditional activated carbons of broad pore size distribution. Here, the window of opportunity opens in the template carbonisation method.

Using well defined inorganic materials as templates, the replicas or carbon copies of the porous structure can be obtained after introducing an organic precursor, its carbonisation and dissolving an inorganic matrix. A significant advantage of that method is in the possibility of tailoring the pore sizes using various templates as well as various organic precursors. By combining template carbons and ionic liquids, we expect to deepen understanding of pore behaviour in activated carbons and improve designing of the EC systems.

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