Charge storage in nanoporous carbons : The molecular origin of supercapacitance

Benjamin Rotenberg (CNRS and UPMC) - January 21, 2016

Supercapacitors are electric devices able to deliver a large power, enabling their use e.g. for the recovery of breaking energy in cars and tramways or the emergency door opening in the A380 airliner. This is achieved by using porous carbon electrodes and an electrolyte solution or a pure ionic liquid (Room Temperature Ionic Liquid). Energy is stored by the adsorption of ions at the surface of the electrodes, but the microscopic mechanism underlying the exceptional performance of Carbide Derived Carbon (CDC) electrodes remained unknown until recently [1]. I will present how molecular simulations allows to uncover the effects of confinement and solvation on the microscopic charging mechanism [2,3]. I will also discuss the dynamics of charging [4] and recent fundamental developments exploiting the charge fluctuations of the electrodes to investigate interfacial properties on the molecular scale [5,6,7].

[1] Chmiola et al., Science 313, 1760–1763 (2006)
[2] Merlet et al., Nature Materials 11, 306 (2012)
[3] Merlet et al., Nature Communications 4, 2701 (2013)
[4] Péan et al., ACS Nano 8, 1576 (2014)
[5] Limmer DT et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 106102 (2013)
[6] Merlet C et al., J. Phys. Chem. C 118, 18291 (2014)
[7] Rotenberg B and Salanne M, J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 6, 4978 (2015)

Biography :
Benjamin Rotenberg is a CNRS researcher at UPMC (Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France) since 2008. His research focuses on the multiscale modelling of charged interfaces, in particular in porous materials in the fields of Energy and the environment. He received several awards including the Young Researcher prize from the Division de Chimie Physique (joint division of the French Chemical and Physical Societies) and the Michel Gouilloud Schlumberger prize of the French Academy of Sciences in 2013, as well as the Bronze Medal of CNRS in 2015. See http://www.phenix.cnrs.fr for more information.

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