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Nanomaterials 2019, 9(3), 446; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9030446

Deciphering the Structural, Textural, and Electrochemical Properties of Activated BN-Doped Spherical Carbons

1
Department of Physics, Institute of Applied Materials, SARChI Chair in Carbon Technology and Materials, University of Pretoria, 0028 Pretoria, South Africa
2
Molecular Sciences Institute, School of Chemistry, University of the Witwatersrand, 2050 Johannesburg, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 February 2019 / Revised: 25 February 2019 / Accepted: 11 March 2019 / Published: 16 March 2019
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Abstract

In this study, the effect of K2CO3 activation on the structural, textural, and electrochemical properties of carbon spheres (CSs) and boron and nitrogen co-doped carbon spheres (BN-CSs) was evaluated. Activation of the CSs and BN-CSs by K2CO3 resulted in increased specific surface areas and ID/IG ratios. From the X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) results, the BN-CSs comprised of 64% pyridinic-N, 24% pyrrolic-N and 7% graphitic-N whereas the activated BN-CSs had 19% pyridinic-N, 40% pyrrolic-N and 22% graphitic-N displaying the effect of activation on the type of N configurations in BN-CSs. A possible BN-co-doping and activation mechanism for the BN-CSs is proposed. Electrochemical analysis of the electrode materials revealed that BN doping, carbon morphology, structure, and porosity played a crucial role in enhancing the capacitive behavior of the CSs. As a proof of concept, a symmetric device comprising the activated BN-CSs displayed a specific power of 800 W kg−1 at a specific current of 1 A g−1 within an operating cell potential of 1.6 V in a 3 M KNO3 electrolyte. The study illustrated for the first time the role of K2CO3 activation in influencing the physical and surface properties of template-free activated BN-CSs as potential electrode materials for energy storage systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon spheres; boron and nitrogen co-doped carbons; activation; supercapacitor carbon spheres; boron and nitrogen co-doped carbons; activation; supercapacitor
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Mutuma, B.K.; Matsoso, B.J.; Momodu, D.; Oyedotun, K.O.; Coville, N.J.; Manyala, N. Deciphering the Structural, Textural, and Electrochemical Properties of Activated BN-Doped Spherical Carbons. Nanomaterials 2019, 9, 446.

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