Biredox ionic liquids with solid-like redox density in the liquid state for high-energy supercapacitors

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Abstract

Kinetics of electrochemical reactions are several orders of magnitude slower in solids than in liquids as a result of the much lower ion diffusivity. Yet, the solid state maximizes the density of redox species, which is at least two orders of magnitude lower in liquids because of solubility limitations. With regard to electrochemical energy storage devices, this leads to high-energy batteries with limited power and high-power supercapacitors with a well-known energy deficiency. For such devices the ideal system should endow the liquid state with a density of redox species close to the solid state. Here we report an approach based on biredox ionic liquids to achieve bulk-like redox density at liquid-like fast kinetics. The cation and anion of these biredox ionic liquids bear moieties that undergo very fast reversible redox reactions. As a first demonstration of their potential for high-capacity/high-rate charge storage, we used them in redox supercapacitors. These ionic liquids are able to decouple charge storage from an ion-accessible electrode surface, by storing significant charge in the pores of the electrodes, to minimize self-discharge and leakage current as a result of retaining the redox species in the pores, and to raise working voltage due to their wide electrochemical window.

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Figure 1: Comparison of charge storage in EDLC with IL electrolyte and the biredox IL-enhanced pseudocapacitor.
Figure 2: Synthesis of the biredox ionic liquid.
Figure 3: Electrochemistry of the biredox IL in the supercapacitors.
Figure 4: Self-discharge of supercapacitors.
Figure 5: Ragone plot of supercapacitors using various electrolytes.
Figure 6: Specific capacitance retention on cycling in biredox IL electrolyte.

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Acknowledgements

S.A.F. is indebted to la Chaire Total de la foundation Balard for the position of an invited professor at the Institute Charles Gerhardt, Montpellier, France, as well as the Austrian Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth and the Austrian National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development and funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 636069).

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E.M. and L.C. contributed equally to this work and carried out the experiments. O.F., F.F. and S.A.F. conceived and designed the experiments, directed the project and analysed the results. F.F., S.A.F. and O.F. co-wrote the manuscript. A.V. and A.M. helped with synthesis of anionic species. All authors contributed to the discussion and interpretation of the results.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Olivier Fontaine.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Mourad, E., Coustan, L., Lannelongue, P. et al. Biredox ionic liquids with solid-like redox density in the liquid state for high-energy supercapacitors. Nature Mater 16, 446–453 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat4808

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