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Controlling Electrode Spacing by Polystyrene Microsphere Spacers for Highly Stable and Flexible Transparent Supercapacitors

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journal contribution
posted on 24.01.2020, 17:34 by Jun Chen, Wenguang Xiao, Tao Hu, Ping Chen, Tian Lan, Pan Li, Yi Li, Baoxiu Mi, Yanwen Ma
Transparent polymer electrolytes such as poly­(vinyl alcohol)-based H+, Li+, K+, and Na+ gels have been widely used as both an electrolyte and a separator for flexible transparent supercapacitors (FTSCs). However, these gels sandwiched between the electrodes in FTSCs are easily compressed under bending and compression due to their viscous flow behavior, resulting in the deformation of electrode spacing and the unstable capacitance performance. To resolve this issue, herein, we introduce monodispersed polystyrene (PS) microspheres into PVA-LiCl polymer gel electrolytes as spacers to precisely control the electrode spacing during the assembly of FTSCs using single-walled carbon nanotubes/indium tin oxide–polyethylene terephthalate (ITO-PET) or MnO2/multiwalled carbon nanotubes/ITO-PET as transparent electrodes. The electrode spacing could be tuned by varying the diameter of PS microspheres, for example, 20, 40, and 80 μm. More importantly, the PS microsphere spacers protect the gel electrolyte from the squeeze when bending takes place, allowing the stable performance output by FTSCs under a bending state. After repeating bending tests, the capacitance remains 95.6%, indicating the high stability and flexibility of the devices with the assistance of PS microsphere spacers.