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Vapor-Phase Polymerization of Nanofibrillar Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) for Supercapacitors

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posted on 25.02.2014, 00:00 by Julio M. D’Arcy, Maher F. El-Kady, Pwint P. Khine, Linghong Zhang, Sun Hwa Lee, Nicole R. Davis, David S. Liu, Michael T. Yeung, Sung Yeol Kim, Christopher L. Turner, Andrew T. Lech, Paula T. Hammond, Richard B. Kaner
Nanostructures of the conducting polymer poly(3,4-ethylene­dioxy­thiophene) with large surface areas enhance the performance of energy storage devices such as electrochemical supercapacitors. However, until now, high aspect ratio nanofibers of this polymer could only be deposited from the vapor-phase, utilizing extrinsic hard templates such as electrospun nanofibers and anodized aluminum oxide. These routes result in low conductivity and require postsynthetic template removal, conditions that stifle the development of conducting polymer electronics. Here we introduce a simple process that overcomes these drawbacks and results in vertically directed high aspect ratio poly(3,4-ethylene­dioxy­thiophene) nanofibers possessing a high conductivity of 130 S/cm. Nanofibers deposit as a freestanding mechanically robust film that is easily processable into a supercapacitor without using organic binders or conductive additives and is characterized by excellent cycling stability, retaining more than 92% of its initial capacitance after 10 000 charge/discharge cycles. Deposition of nanofibers on a hard carbon fiber paper current collector affords a highly efficient and stable electrode for a supercapacitor exhibiting gravimetric capacitance of 175 F/g and 94% capacitance retention after 1000 cycles.