Journal of Applied Electrochemistry

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 151–162 | Cite as

Improved accessibility of porous carbon electrodes with surfactant ionic liquids for supercapacitors

  • Ningjin Xu
  • Jeffrey M. Klein
  • Phoebe Huang
  • Huda A. Alwusaydi
  • Elizabeth K. Mann
  • Burcu E. GurkanEmail author
Research Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Capacitors


Ionic liquids (ILs) are promising electrolytes for supercapacitors due to their wide electrochemical window. However, most ILs are viscous in nature and require diffusional and rotational transformations to access the pore space of common supercapacitor electrodes. In this study, novel anionic surfactant ILs (ASILs) are synthesized to lubricate the electrode surface to improve pore accessibility by IL ions. ASIL composition (0–10 wt%) and temperature (22–150 °C)-dependent capacitances, as a measure of pore accessibility and wettability, are determined by cyclic voltammetry. 10 wt% 1-butyl-1-methylpyrrolidinium docusate, [PYR14][AOT], in the base IL 1-propyl-1-methylpyrrolidinium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide, [PYR13][TFSI], exhibits the highest specific capacitance (202 F g−1 at 150 °C and 10 mV s−1), compared to [PYR13][TFSI] (160 F g−1). Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy measurements indicate resistive charging for ASIL/IL electrolyte compared to the base IL at 22 °C due to reduced conductivity—a consequence of larger non-polar domains. However, at elevated temperatures (> 100 °C), electrolyte resistance is circumvented as the viscosity is reduced. The wide voltage window of ILs and improved wettability by ASILs can be coupled to maximize energy storage capability of supercapacitors for high-temperature power applications.

Graphical abstract


Anionic surfactant ionic liquid Ion accessibility Electrode wettability Capacitance Impedance 



Authors would like to thank the Case Western Reserve University Capacitor Facility, specifically Dr John Miller, Mirko Antloga, and Becca Segeel for supplying the electrodes.

Author contributions

NX synthesized ASILs and performed the physical property and electrochemical measurements. JMK carried out the EIS fit and analysis. PH performed TGA and DSC measurements. HA measured surface tension. EM supervised surface tension measurements. BEG designed the experiments and supervised all activities. All authors contributed to writing the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10800_2018_1266_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.9 mb)
Supplementary material 1 Additional details of IL characterization, CV and EIS experiments, and fitted parameters for EIS. (DOCX 1909 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsKent State UniversityKentUSA

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