Fabrication of Polypyrrole-Coated Carbon Nanotubes Using Oxidant–Surfactant Nanocrystals for Supercapacitor Electrodes with High Mass Loading and Enhanced Performance
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A conceptually new approach to the fabrication of polypyrrole (PPy)-coated multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) for application in electrodes of electrochemical supercapacitors (ES) is proposed. Cetrimonium persulfate (CTA)2S2O8 in the form of nanocrystals is used as an oxidant for the chemical polymerization of PPy. Ponceau S (PS) dye is investigated as a new anionic dopant. Testing results show that PS allows reduced PPy particle size and improved electrochemical performance, whereas (CTA)2S2O8 nanocrystals promote the formation of PPy nanofibers. We demonstrate for the first time that MWCNT can be efficiently dispersed using (CTA)2S2O8 nanocrystals. The analysis of the dispersion mechanism indicates that (CTA)2S2O8 dissociation is catalyzed by MWCNT. This new finding opens a new and promising strategy in MWCNT dispersion for colloidal processing of nanomaterials and electrophoretic nanotechnology. Uniformly coated MWCNT are obtained using (CTA)2S2O8 as a dispersant for MWCNT and oxidant for PPy polymerization and utilizing advantages of PS as an efficient dopant and nanostructure controlling agent. The analysis of the testing results provides an insight into the influence of PS molecular structure on PPy nanostructure and electrochemical properties. The PPy-coated MWCNT show superior electrochemical performance compared to PPy nanoparticles. The proof-of-principle is demonstrated by the fabrication of ES electrodes with excellent electrochemical performance at high active material loadings, good capacitance retention at high charge-discharge rates, and excellent cycling stability.
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