Amorphous Carbon Nanofibers and Their Activated Carbon Nanofibers as Supercapacitor Electrodes


Carbon nanofibers (CNFs) show a high electrical conductivity but a reduced specific surface area that limits their use as electrode materials for supercapacitors. In this work, amorphous CNFs, with a relatively high electrical conductivity are easily activated in KOH, using certain KOH/CNF weight ratios. Activation does not produce any important change in the shape, surface roughness, diameter, graphene sheet size, and electrical conductivity of starting nanofibers. However, activation leads to new micropores and larger surface areas as well as a higher content of basic oxygen groups. They clearly enhanced the specific capacitance, attaining values higher than those reported for other activated CNFs. In this study, the effects of micropore size and oxygen content on the specific capacitance are discussed for three electrolytes: H$_2$SO$_4$, KOH, and (CH$_3$CH$_2$)$_4$NBF$_4$. Moreover, a good cycle life is found for the most activated CNFs.

J. Phys. Chem. C 114, 10302–10307 (2010)