In this study, various nitrogen-containing functional groups, namely, pyridine (N-6), pyrrole (N-5), oxidized N (N-O), and quaternary N (N-Q), are created on activated carbon (AC) surface via melamine, ammonia, and nitric oxide doping methods. N-5 and N-6 groups markedly alter the specific surface area and pore size of AC. N-O is found to affect electrolyte wettability, and the N-Q content is closely associated with AC electronic conductivity. The nitrogen-containing groups do not contribute to pseudocapacitance in propylene carbonate and acetonitrile electrolytes. However, the nitric-oxide-treated carbon (AC-NO) exhibits the best high-rate charge-discharge performance among the investigated materials. The N-Q-enriched and N-5/N-6-depleted AC-NO most effectively suppresses the leakage current and gas evolution of supercapacitors. Online gas chromatography is used to analyze the gaseous species produced from AC electrodes. With an appropriate surface functionality on carbon, the cell voltage can be increased to ∼3 V, increasing the energy and power densities. The aging behavior of the carbon electrodes with and without nitrogen modification after being floated at 2.5 V and 70 °C for 3 days is investigated. An effective strategy for enhancing supercapacitor performance and reliability is proposed.
- cell aging
- electric double-layer capacitor
- gas evolution
- leakage current
- surface functionality