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Cutting and Unzipping Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes into Curved Graphene Nanosheets and Their Enhanced Supercapacitor Performance

Wang, Huanwen, Wang, Yalan, Hu, Zhongai, Wang, Xuefeng
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2012 v.4 no.12 pp. 6827-6834
potassium hydroxide, ions, sodium sulfate, surface area, sulfuric acid, carbon nanotubes, cutting, electrodes, capacitance, electrochemistry, nanocomposites, nanosheets, graphene, batteries, industrial applications
We report a remarkable transformation of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) to curved graphene nanosheets (CGN) by the Hummers method. Through this simple process, MWCNTs can be cut and unzipped in the transverse and longitudinal directions, respectively. The as-obtained CGN possess the unique hybrid structure of 1D nanotube and 2D graphene. Such a particular structure together with the improved effective surface area affords high specific capacitance and good cycling stability during the charge–discharge process when used as supercapacitor electrodes. The electrochemical measurements show that CGN exhibit higher capacitive properties than pristine MWCNTs in three different types of aqueous electrolytes, 1 M KOH, 1 M H₂SO₄, and 1 M Na₂SO₄. A specific capacitance of as high as 256 F g–¹ at a current density of 0.3 A g–¹ is achieved over the CGN material. The improved capacitance may be attributed to high accessibility to electrolyte ions, extended defect density, and increased effective surface area. Meanwhile, this high-yield production of graphene from low cost MWCNTs is important for the scalable synthesis and industrial application of graphene. Furthermore, this novel CGN nanostructure could also be promisingly applied in many fields such as nanoelectronics, sensors, nanocomposites, batteries, and gas storage.