Nitrogen doped resorcinol/formaldehyde carbon aerogels with controlled nitrogen content are synthesized by controlling the resorcinol/melamine molar ratio (R/M) during the synthesis of aerogel precursors. The carbons were used as electrode materials in an electrochemical capacitor using 6M KOH solution as electrolyte. All samples exhibited amorphous structure with low degree of graphitization. The maximum specific capacitance of 208 Fg-1 was observed after doping of the carbon with nitrogen at R/M = 80. Drop in solution and charge transfer resistances from 0.57Ω to 0.15Ω and 0.05Ω to 0.04Ω was also observed respectively, with the drop in contact angles from 123º to 103º for the carbon doped with nitrogen at R/M = 80. BET results showed that the pore volume and surface area of carbon increase after N-doping, with a BET surface area of 841 m2 g-1 at R/M = 80. This R/M ratio is an optimum ratio at which incorporation of nitrogen into the carbon matrix improves the capacitive performance of cell as a result of improved porosity/wettability/conductivity/active sites of the electrode. Doping at higher nitrogen concentrations (R/M < 80) decreased the specific capacitance of the cell significantly due to decreased conductivity of carbon and suppression of the hopping rate of dopant.
- Nitrogen doped carbon aerogels
- Porous structure
- Functional groups
- Electrode/electrolyte interface
- Electrochemical performance