Molecular Insights into Aqueous NaCl Electrolytes Confined within Vertically-oriented Graphenes

Z Bo and HC Yang and S Zhang and JY Yang and JH Yan and KF Cen, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 5, 14652 (2015).

DOI: 10.1038/srep14652

Vertically-oriented graphenes (VGs) are promising active materials for electric double layer capacitors (EDLCs) due to their unique morphological and structural features. This study, for the first time, reports the molecular dynamics (MD) simulations on aqueous NaCl electrolytes confined within VG channels with different surface charge densities and channel widths. Simulation results show that the accessibility of ions and the structure of EDLCs are determined by the ion type/size, surface charging, and VG channel width. For relatively narrow VG channels with the same width, the threshold charge density (to compensate the energy penalty for shedding hydration shell) and the dehydration rate of Cl-ions are larger than those of Na+ ions. To achieve the highest ion concentration coefficient, the effective VG channel width should be between the crystal and hydration diameters of the ions. The results are further quantified and elucidated by calculating the electrolyte density profiles. The molecular insights obtained in the current work are useful in guiding the design and fabrication of VGs for advancing their EDLC applications.

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