OPEN Scientific reports | 23 Oct 2013
L Oakes, A Westover, JW Mares, S Chatterjee, WR Erwin, R Bardhan, SM Weiss and CL Pint
Silicon materials remain unused for supercapacitors due to extreme reactivity of silicon with electrolytes. However, doped silicon materials boast a low mass density, excellent conductivity, a controllably etched nanoporous structure, and combined earth abundance and technological presence appealing to diverse energy storage frameworks. Here, we demonstrate a universal route to transform porous silicon (P-Si) into stable electrodes for electrochemical devices through growth of an ultra-thin, conformal graphene coating on the P-Si surface. This graphene coating simultaneously passivates surface charge traps and provides an ideal electrode-electrolyte electrochemical interface. This leads to 10-40X improvement in energy density, and a 2X wider electrochemical window compared to identically-structured unpassivated P-Si. This work demonstrates a technique generalizable to mesoporous and nanoporous materials that decouples the engineering of electrode structure and electrochemical surface stability to engineer performance in electrochemical environments. Specifically, we demonstrate P-Si as a promising new platform for grid-scale and integrated electrochemical energy storage.
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