Understanding Electrolyte Ion Size Effects on the Performance of Conducting MOF Supercapacitors

11 January 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Layered metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have emerged as promising materials for next-generation supercapacitors. Understanding how and why electrolyte ion size impacts electrochemical performance is crucial for developing improved MOF-based devices. To address this, we investigate the energy storage performance of Cu3(HHTP)2 (HHTP = 2,3,6,7,10,11-hexahydroxytriphenylene) with a series of 1 M tetraalkylammonium tetrafluoroborate (TAABF4) electrolytes with different cation sizes. Three-electrode experiments show that Cu3(HHTP)2 exhibits higher energy storage upon positive charging and an asymmetric charging response with all ion sizes, with a greater charging asymmetry with larger TAA+ cations. The results further show that smaller TAA+ cations demonstrate superior capacitive performance upon both positive and negative charging compared to larger TAA+ cations. To gain further insights, electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance (EQCM) measurements were performed to probe the ion electrosorption during charging. These reveal that Cu3(HHTP)2 has a cation-dominated charging mechanism, but interestingly indicate that the solvent also participates in the charging mechanism with larger cations. Overall, the results of this study suggest that larger TAA+ cations saturate the pores of the Cu3(HHTP)2-based electrodes, leading to more asymmetric charging and forcing solvent molecules to play a role in the charge storage mechanism. These findings significantly enhance our understanding of ion electrosorption in layered MOFs, and will guide the design of improved MOF-based supercapacitors.


Metal-Organic Frameworks
Electrochemical Quartz Crystal Microbalance
Ion Dynamics

Supplementary materials

Supplementary Information
Includes experimental details and additional elemental analysis, SEM, XRD, gas sorption, electrochemistry, and EQCM data and analysis.


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