Author

Tete Tevi

Graduation Year

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Arash Takshi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

E. Lee Stefanakos, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jing Wang, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sylvia W. Thomas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Manoj Ram, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Shengqian Ma, Ph.D.

Keywords

Conducting Polymers, Electrochemical Capacitors, Modeling, Self Discharge, Simulation

Abstract

Supercapacitors have emerged in recent years as a promising energy storage technology. The main mechanism of energy storage is based on electrostatic separation of charges in a region at the electrode-electrolyte interface called double layer. Various electrode materials including carbon and conducting polymers have been used in supercapacitors. Also, supercapacitors offer high life cycle and high power density among electrochemical energy storage devices. Despite their interesting features, supercapacitors present some disadvantages that limit their competitivity with other storage devices in some applications. One of those drawbacks is high self-discharge or leakage. The leakage occurs when electrons cross the double layer to be involved in electrochemical reactions in the supercapacitor’s electrolyte. In this work, the first research project demonstrates that the addition of a very thin blocking layer to a supercapacitor electrode, can improve the energy storage capability of the device by reducing the leakage. However, the downside of adding a blocking layer is the reduction of the capacitance. A second project developed a mathematical model to study how the thickness of the blocking layer affects the capacitance and the energy density. The model combines electrochemical and quantum mechanical effects on the electrons transfer responsible of the leakage. Based on the model, a computational code is developed to simulate and study the self-discharge and the energy loss in hypothetical devices with different thicknesses of the blocking layer. The third research project identified the optimal amount of a surfactant (Triton-X 100) that had a significant effect on the double layer capacitance and conductivity of a spin-coated PEDOT:PSS (poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene): poly(styrenesulfonate)) electrode. The effect of the concentration of the surfactant was investigated by measuring the electrochemical properties and the conductivity of different electrodes. The electrodes were fabricated with different concentrations of the surfactant. Scanning electron microscopy characterizations confirmed the structural change in the PEDOT:PSS that contributed to the capacitance and conductivity enhancement. A final research project proposed an approach on how to utilize the modified PEDOT:PSS added to different photoactive dyes to design a photoactive supercapacitor. The new approach showed the possibility of using a supercapacitor device as an energy harvesting as well as a storage device.

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