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Functionalized graphene oxide-reinforced electrospun carbon nanofibers as ultrathin supercapacitor electrode

Chee, W.K., Lim, H.N., Andou, Y., Zainal, Z., Hamra, A.A.B., Harrison, I., Altarawneh, M.ORCID: 0000-0002-2832-3886, Jiang, Z-T and Huang, N.M. (2017) Functionalized graphene oxide-reinforced electrospun carbon nanofibers as ultrathin supercapacitor electrode. Journal of Energy Chemistry, 26 (4). pp. 790-798.

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Graphene oxide has been used widely as a starting precursor for applications that cater to the needs of tunable graphene. However, the hydrophilic characteristic limits their application, especially in a hydrophobic condition. Herein, a novel non-covalent surface modification approach towards graphene oxide was conducted via a UV-induced photo-polymerization technique that involves two major routes; a UV-sensitive initiator embedded via pi-pi interactions on the graphene planar rings, and the polymerization of hydrophobic polymeric chains along the surface. The functionalized graphene oxide successfully achieved the desired hydrophobicity as it displayed the characteristic of being readily dissolved in organic solvent. Upon its addition into a polymeric solution and subjected to an electrospinning process, non-woven random nanofibers embedded with graphene oxide sheets were obtained. The prepared polymeric nanofibers were subjected to two-step thermal treatments that eventually converted the polymeric chains into a carbon-rich conductive structure. A unique morphology was observed upon the addition of the functionalized graphene oxide, whereby the sheets were embedded and intercalated within the carbon nanofibers and formed a continuous structure. This reinforcement effectively enhanced the electrochemical performance of the carbon nanofibers by recording a specific capacitance of up to 140.10. F/g at the current density of 1. A/g, which was approximately three folds more than that of pristine nanofibers. It also retained the capacitance up to 96.2% after 1000 vigorous charge/discharge cycles. This functionalization technique opens up a new pathway in tuning the solubility nature of graphene oxide towards the synthesis of a graphene oxide-reinforced polymeric structure.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Copyright: © 2017 Elsevier B.V.
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