Ni(OH)2 nanoflakes supported on 3D hierarchically nanoporous gold/Ni foam as superior electrodes for supercapacitors

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  • ReceivedAug 8, 2017
  • AcceptedOct 17, 2017
  • PublishedDec 12, 2017


The increasing demand for portable electronic devices and hybrid electric vehicles stimulates the development of supercapacitors as an advanced energy storage system. Here, we demonstrate a binder-free nickel hydroxide@nanoporous gold/Ni foam (Ni(OH)2@NPG/Ni foam) electrode for high-performance supercapacitors, which is prepared by a facile three-step fabrication route including electrodeposition of Au-Sn alloy on Ni foam, chemical dealloying of Sn and electrodepostion of Ni(OH)2 on NPG/Ni foam. Such Ni(OH)2@NPG/Ni foam electrode is composed of a thin layer of conformable Ni(OH)2 nanoflakes supported on three-dimensional (3D) hierarchically porous NPG/Ni foam substrate. The resulting Ni(OH)2@NPG/Ni foam electrode can offer highways for both electron transfer and ion transport and lead to an excellent electrochemical performance with an ultrahigh specific capacitance of 3,380 F g–1 at a current density of 2 A g–1. Even when the current density was increased to 50 A g–1, it still retained a high capacitance of 1,927 F g–1. The promising performance of the Ni(OH)2@NPG/Ni foam electrode is mainly ascribed to the 3D hierarchical porosity and the highly conductive network on the NPG/Ni foam composite current collector, as well as the conformal electrodeposition of Ni(OH)2 active material on the NPG/Ni foam, which induces the formation of interconnected porosity both on the top surface and on the inner surface of the electrode. This inspiring electrochemical performance would make the as-designed electrode material become one of the most promising candidates for future electrochemical energy storage systems.


This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21673051, 51604086), the Guangdong Science and Technology Department (2016A010104015), the Pearl River Scholar Funded Scheme of Guangdong Province Universities and Colleges (2015), the Science and Technology Program of Guangzhou (201604030037), the ‘One-hundred Talents plan’ (220418056), the ‘One-hundred Young Talents plan’ (220413126) and the Youth Foundation (252151038) of Guangdong University of Technology.

Interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Contributions statement

Ke X, Shi Z and Guo Z designed the experiments; Zhang Z, Cheng Y, Liang Y and Tan Z performed the experiments with support from Liu L and Liu J; Ke X, Shi Z and Guo Z wrote the paper. All authors contributed to the general discussion.

Author information

Xi Ke received his PhD degree in analytical chemistry from Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry (CIAC), Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2013. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow in Sun Yat-sen University from 2013 to 2015. He joined Guangdong University of Technology as an assistant professor in 2015. His research interests include the synthesis of electrode materials and their application in supercapacitor, lithium metal battery (LMB) and sodium-ion battery (SIB).

Zhicong Shi is a professor at Guangdong University of Technology, where he presently serves as the Head of the Department of New Energy Materials and Devices and the Director of Guangdong Engineering Centre for New Energy Materials and Devices. He received his PhD in physical chemistry from Xiamen University in 2005. His current research field is novel electrode materials for supercapacitors, batteries and fuel cells.

Zaiping Guo received her PhD in Materials Engineering from the University of Wollongong in December 2003. After APD fellowship in the Institute for Superconducting & Electronic Materials, she joined the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, University of Wollongong as a Lecturer in 2008, and was promoted to Professor in 2012, and then Senior Professor in 2013. Her current research interests focus on the design and application of nanomaterials for energy storage and conversion, including rechargeable batteries, hydrogen storage, and fuel cells.


Supplementary information

Supplementary figures are available in the online version of the paper.


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  • Figure 1

    Schematic illustration of the fabrication procedure for the Ni(OH)2@NPG/Ni foam electrodes.

  • Figure 2

    Photograph of a 1×1 cm2 Ni foam, 1×1 cm2 NPG/Ni foam composite and 1×1 cm2 Ni(OH)2@NPG/Ni foam electrode. Inset: a Ni(OH)2@NPG/Ni foam electrode bent to illustrate its good flexibility (a); Top-view SEM images of the pristine Ni foam (b, c) and the NPG/Ni foam composite (d–g) under different magnifications, and the cross-sectional SEM image of the NPG film (h).

  • Figure 3

    Top-view SEM images of Ni(OH)2@NPG/Ni foam electrode under different magnifications (a–c), and the corresponding cross-sectional SEM image (d).

  • Figure 4

    XRD patterns of the NPG/Ni foam composite and the Ni(OH)2@NPG/Ni foam electrode (a), and XPS spectrum of Ni 2p orbitals for the Ni(OH)2 electrodeposited on the NPG/Ni foam composite (b).

  • Figure 5

    Typical CVs of the Ni(OH)2@NPG/Ni foam electrode (a) and the specific capacitance of the Ni(OH)2@NPG/Ni foam electrode and the Ni(OH)2@Ni foam electrode at various scan rates (b). GCD curves of the Ni(OH)2@NPG/Ni foam electrode (c) and the specific capacitance of the Ni(OH)2@NPG/Ni foam electrode and the Ni(OH)2@Ni foam electrode at various current densities (d).

  • Figure 6

    Nyquist plots of the Ni(OH)2@NPG/Ni foam electrode and the Ni(OH)2@Ni foam electrode (a), with a magnification of the high frequency region in the bottom right inset and an equivalent circuit model in the top right inset (a). Cycling stability of the Ni(OH)2@NPG/Ni foam electrode and the Ni(OH)2@Ni foam electrode as a function of the cycle number at a current density of 30 A g–1 (b).

  • Figure 7

    Top-view SEM images of the Ni(OH)2@NPG/Ni foam electrode under different magnifications after charge/discharge cycling (a-c), and the corresponding cross-sectional SEM image (d).

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