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Keywords:

  • vertically-aligned graphenes;
  • butter;
  • plasma;
  • supercapacitor

Abstract

Vertical graphene nanosheets (VGNS) hold great promise for high-performance supercapacitors owing to their excellent electrical transport property, large surface area and in particular, an inherent three-dimensional, open network structure. However, it remains challenging to materialise the VGNS-based supercapacitors due to their poor specific capacitance, high temperature processing, poor binding to electrode support materials, uncontrollable microstructure, and non-cost effective way of fabrication. Here we use a single-step, fast, scalable, and environmentally-benign plasma-enabled method to fabricate VGNS using cheap and spreadable natural fatty precursor butter, and demonstrate the controllability over the degree of graphitization and the density of VGNS edge planes. Our VGNS employed as binder-free supercapacitor electrodes exhibit high specific capacitance up to 230 F g−1 at a scan rate of 10 mV s−1 and >99% capacitance retention after 1,500 charge-discharge cycles at a high current density, when the optimum combination of graphitic structure and edge plane effects is utilised. The energy storage performance can be further enhanced by forming stable hybrid MnO2/VGNS nano-architectures which synergistically combine the advantages from both VGNS and MnO2. This deterministic and plasma-unique way of fabricating VGNS may open a new avenue for producing functional nanomaterials for advanced energy storage devices.