Deciphering the Influence of Electrolytes on the Energy Storage Mechanism of Vertically-Oriented Graphene Nanosheet Electrodes by Using Advanced Electrogravimetric Methods

Electrolyte composition is a crucial factor determining the capacitive properties of a supercapacitor device. However, its complex influence on the energy storage mechanisms has not yet been fully elucidated. For this purpose, in this study, the role of three different types of electrolytes based on a propylene carbonate (PC) solution containing tetrabutylammonium perchlorate (TBAClO4), lithium perchlorate (LiClO4) and butyltrimethylammonium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide (N1114TFSI) ionic liquid on vertically-oriented graphene nanosheet electrodes has been investigated. Herein, in situ electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance (EQCM) and its coupling with electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), known as ac-electrogravimetry, have allowed the dynamic aspects of the (co)electroadsorption processes at the electrode-electrolyte interface to be examined. A major contribution of ClO4− anions (TBAClO4) was evidenced, whereas in the PC/N1114TFSI mixture (50:50 wt%) both anions (TFSI−) and cations (N1114+) were symmetrically exchanged during cycling. In the particular case of LiClO4, solvation of Li+ cations in PC was involved, affecting the kinetics of electroadsorption. These results demonstrate the suitability of dynamic electrogravimetric methods to unveil the interfacial exchange properties of mobile species for the conception of new high performance energy storage devices.