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Machine-learning-assisted material discovery of oxygen-rich highly porous carbon active materials for aqueous supercapacitors...

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Nature Communications
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Porous carbons are the active materials of choice for supercapacitor applications because of their power capability, long-term cycle stability, and wide operating temperatures. However, the development of carbon active materials with improved physicochemical and electrochemical properties is generally carried out via time-consuming and cost-ineffective experimental processes. In this regard, machine-learning technology provides a data-driven approach to examine previously reported research works to find the critical features for developing ideal carbon materials for supercapacitors. Here, we report the design of a machine-learning-derived activation strategy that uses sodium amide and cross-linked polymer precursors to synthesize highly porous carbons (i.e., with specific surface areas > 4000 m2/g). Tuning the pore size and oxygen content of the carbonaceous materials, we report a highly porous carbon-base electrode with 0.7 mg/cm2 of electrode mass loading that exhibits a high specific capacitance of 610 F/g in 1 M H2SO4. This result approaches the specific capacitance of a porous carbon electrode predicted by the machine learning approach. We also investigate the charge storage mechanism and electrolyte transport properties via step potential electrochemical spectroscopy and quasielastic neutron scattering measurements.