Graduate Research and Discovery Symposium (GRADS)

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015


Increasing power demands associated with electronic devices, transportation and renewable energy systems require new energy storage technologies with higher specific capacitance, faster charge-discharge rates and long-term cycle stability. Supercapacitors offer an alternative to conventional batteries and capacitors, with the potential to deliver high energy and power density. Of the different materials used as electrodes, electrochemically conducting polymers (ECPs) have emerged as a low cost alternative with tremendous synthetic and structural versatility. The focus of our research is to utilize various processing and synthesis methods to increase the performance of ECP electrodes by controlling ion-transport and electron transfer processes. First, we show how to synthesize ECP microtubes with tunable dimensions using stainless steel mesh substrates with varying wire diameters and spacing. Second, we investigated the use of polymer dopants to directly affect key performance metrics. For example, we integrated poly(4-styrene sulfonic acid), a known proton conductor, to increase the ion transport within the polymer structures. We also investigated the use of lignin, a non-conductive polymer with moderate redox activity, to improve the redox capacitance of the ECP film. Through this work, we demonstrate how electrode composition and morphology influence key metrics of polymer electrodes to design new materials for high-energy supercapacitors.