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Noncovalent Functionalization of Graphene Nanoplatelets and Their Applications in Supercapacitors

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posted on 2024-03-20, 13:06 authored by Haritha Haridas, Arsath Kose Abdul Kader, Andrew Sellathurai, Dominik P. J. Barz, Marianna Kontopoulou
We demonstrate a simple noncovalent functionalization technique, which involves graphite exfoliation and subsequent coating of the resulting graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) with trimellitic anhydride (TMA), using a thermomechanical exfoliation process. TMA adsorbs on the surface of the GNPs, resulting in a reduction of the specific surface area to 312 ± 9 m2/g compared to 410 ± 12 m2/g for the unmodified GNPs. Detailed imaging, thermogravimetric, and X-ray diffraction analysis showed that the modified GNPs (TMA-GNPs) maintain similar structure to the unmodified GNPs. The presence of functional groups, confirmed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis, caused an increase in the surface energy from 45.6 mJ/m2 for the GNPs to 57.9 mJ/m2 for TMA-GNPs. The resulting coated TMA-GNPs form stable dispersions in water while maintaining their inherent conductive properties, thus enabling applications, such as the manufacture of conductive films and supercapacitors. As a proof-of-concept, electrodes for supercapacitors are prepared from concentrated aqueous dispersions of the functionalized GNPs. Electrochemical characterization of the supercapacitors using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, cyclic voltammetry and galvanostatic charge/discharge tests showed a specific capacitance of 22.2 F/cm3 at a scan rate of 1 mV/s from cyclic voltammetry and 17.3 F/cm3 at a current density of 1 A/g from galvanostatic charge/discharge tests, with a 90% capacitance retention after 10,000 cycles.

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