Comprehensive Structural, Surface-Chemical and Electrochemical Characterization of Nickel-Based Metallic Foams

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"Comprehensive Structural, Surface-Chemical and Electrochemical Characterization of Nickel-Based Metallic Foams," van Drunen, Julia; Kinkead, Brandy; Wang, Michael; Sourty, Erwan; Gates, Byron D.; Jerkiewicz, Gregory, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2013, 5 (14), 6712-6722. DOI: 10.1021/am401606n.

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Nickel foam
Real surface area
Dual-porosity materials
Chemical etching
Focused ion beam
Nickel-based electrocatalysts

Nickel-based metallic foams are commonly used in electrochemical energy storage devices (rechargeable batteries) as both current collectors and active mass support. These materials attract attention as tunable electrode materials because they are available in a range of chemical compositions, pore structures, pore sizes, and densities. This contribution presents structural, chemical, and electrochemical characterization of Ni-based metallic foams. Several materials and surface science techniques (transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS), focused ion beam (FIB), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS)) and electrochemical methods (cyclic voltammetry (CV)) are used to examine the micro-, meso-, and nanoscopic structural characteristics, surface morphology, and surface-chemical composition of these materials. XPS combined with Ar-ion etching is employed to analyze the surface and near-surface chemical composition of the foams. The specific and electrochemically active surface areas (As, Aecsa) are determined using CV. Though the foams exhibit structural robustness typical of bulk materials, they have large As, in the range of 200–600 cm2 g–1. In addition, they are dual-porosity materials and possess both macro- and mesopores.

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