In this research, the enhancement in electrochemical performance of pyrolyzed carbon microelectrodes by surface modification is investigated. For the proposed microfabrication process, pyrolyzed carbon microelectrodes with multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) on their surface are obtained by developing GM-1060 photoresist in mixture of propylene glycol methyl ether acetate (PGMEA) and CNTs, and following pyrolysis of a micropatterned photoresist. Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)/H2SO4 electrolyte (1 M) was applied to assemble this carbon/CNT microelectrode-based all-solid-state microsupercapacitor (carbon/CNT-MSC). The carbon/CNT-MSC shows a higher electrochemical performance compared with that of pyrolyzed carbon microelectrode-based MSC (carbon-MSC). The specific areal and volumetric capacitances of carbon/CNT-MSC (4.80 mF/cm2 and 32.0 F/cm3) are higher than those of carbon-MSC (3.52 mF/cm2 and 23.4 F/cm3) at the scan rate of 10 mV/s. In addition, higher energy density and power density of carbon/CNT-MSC (2.85 mWh/cm3 and 1.98 W/cm3) than those of carbon-MSC (2.08 mWh/cm3 and 1.41 W/cm3) were also achieved. This facile surface modification and optimization are potentially promising, being highly compatible with modern microfabrication technologies and allowing integration of highly electrically conductive CNTs into pyrolyzed carbon to assemble MSCs with improved electrochemical performance. Moreover, this method can be potentially applied to other high-performance micro/nanostructures and microdevices/systems.
Keywords: carbon; microelectrode; supercapacitor.