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Keywords:

  • supercapacitors;
  • MnO2 nanowires;
  • graphene;
  • foams;
  • chemical vapor deposition

Abstract

Rapid charging and discharging supercapacitors are promising alternative energy storage systems for applications such as portable electronics and electric vehicles. Integration of pseudocapacitive metal oxides with single-structured materials has received a lot of attention recently due to their superior electrochemical performance. In order to realize high energy-density supercapacitors, a simple and scalable method is developed to fabricate a graphene/MWNT/MnO2 nanowire (GMM) hybrid nanostructured foam, via a two-step process. The 3D few-layer graphene/MWNT (GM) architecture is grown on foamed metal foils (nickel foam) via ambient pressure chemical vapor deposition. Hydrothermally synthesized α-MnO2 nanowires are conformally coated onto the GM foam by a simple bath deposition. The as-prepared hierarchical GMM foam yields a monographical graphene foam conformally covered with an intertwined, densely packed CNT/MnO2 nanowire nanocomposite network. Symmetrical electrochemical capacitors (ECs) based on GMM foam electrodes show an extended operational voltage window of 1.6 V in aqueous electrolyte. A superior energy density of 391.7 Wh kg−1 is obtained for the supercapacitor based on the GMM foam, which is much higher than ECs based on GM foam only (39.72 Wh kg−1). A high specific capacitance (1108.79 F g−1) and power density (799.84 kW kg−1) are also achieved. Moreover, the great capacitance retention (97.94%) after 13 000 charge–discharge cycles and high current handability demonstrate the high stability of the electrodes of the supercapacitor. These excellent performances enable the innovative 3D hierarchical GMM foam to serve as EC electrodes, resulting in energy-storage devices with high stability and power density in neutral aqueous electrolyte.