Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science



Major Professor

Zhou, Weilie

Second Advisor

Malkinski, Leszek

Third Advisor

Smith, Damon

Fourth Advisor

Puri, Ashok

Fifth Advisor

Wiley, John


Over the past few years, energy storage devices have received tremendous interest due to the increasing demand for sustainable and renewable energy in modern society. Supercapacitors are considered as one of the most promising energy storage devices because of their high power density and long cycle life. However, low energy density remains as the main shortcoming for supercapacitors. The overall performance of supercapacitors is predominantly determined by the characteristics of the electrodes. Specifically, constructing nanostructured electrode material has been proven as an efficient way to improve the performance by providing large surface area and short ionic and electronic diffusion paths. Another approach to improve the performance of supercapacitors is the rational design of the asymmetric supercapacitor (ASC), which can extend the operation voltage. In this regard, we have focused on the synthesis and utilization of several nanomaterials, in particular, pseudocapacitance materials such as metal oxides and metal phosphides, on both positive and negative electrodes, as well as the ASC design and fabrication. First, three-dimensional TiO2 nanorod arrays have been synthesized on Ti substrate by a facile one-step hydrothermal method and demonstrated as an ideal supercapacitor positive electrode, which exhibited good areal capacitance and excellent cycling stability. Owing to the novel “dissolve and grow” mechanism, this method provides a simple and low-cost technique for flexible supercapacitor application. Second, using cobalt phosphide and iron phosphide as examples, we have demonstrated metal phosphides as high-performance supercapacitor negative electrodes for the first time. Cobalt phosphide nanowire arrays have been synthesized and presented a high capacitance of 571.3 mF/cm2. To improve the cycling stability, gel electrolyte was used to suppress the irreversible electrochemical reaction. The flexible solid-state asymmetric MnO2//CoP supercapacitor exhibited good electrochemical performance, such as a high energy density of 0.69 mWh/cm3 and a high power density of 114.2 mW/cm3. Furthermore, a PEDOT coating has been adapted to further enhance the cycling stability as well as capacitance performance of FeP nanorod arrays. The FeP/PEDOT electrode represents an outstanding capacitance of 790.59 mF/cm2 and a good stability of 82.12% retention after 5000 cycles. In addition, a MnO2//FeP/PEDOT ASC was fabricated with an excellent volumetric capacitance of 4.53 F/cm3 and an energy density of 1.61 mWh/cm3.


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