In recent years, supercapacitors have attracted a great deal of
attention due to their superior performance in terms of power density and specific energy density than batteries and
conventional capacitors, respectively 1, 2.
Therefore, the supercapacitors are considered as a promising energy storage
device and are applicable where high power density and long cycle life are
highly desirable 3. However, in order to apply in the practical field and fulfill
the future energy demand, advanced supercapacitors must be developed with
higher specific capacitance without sacrificing the power delivery and cycle
life.

The performance of the supercapacitor is mainly depends on the performance
of the electrode materials; therefore, the selection of the proper electrode
materials is essential 4. In the past few years, transition metal oxides such as RuO2,
Co3O4, MnO2, Fe2O3, NiO,
MgO, ZnO have been considered a potential electrode material for supercapacitor
due to their large surface area, controllable pore size, excellent conductivity,
and relatively high power and capacity 1, 5-11. Among
various metal oxides, zinc oxide (ZnO) has been studied as an important
functional material for potential applications in electronic and optoelectronic
devices due to its high photosensitivity, biocompatibility, high luminescence
properties, and low cost 12-14.
Due to its good electrochemical activity, ZnO can be considered as a suitable
candidate for supercapacitor electrode; however, the poor conductivity
and cyclic stability are the main obstacles for its
utilization in the supercapacitor 10. Therefore, overcoming of these limitations is important in order
to develop ZnO as a promising electrode material for
supercapacitor applications.

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Among the various forms of carbon,
CNFs have many interesting properties such as excellent conductivity, thermal
and chemical stability, and ease of fabrication 15. The introduction of ZnO in CNFs may
offer multiple benefits such as faradaic capacitance of the metal oxide and the
double layer capacitance of the CNFs with a large specific surface area, which
substantially enhances the capacitance and energy/power capabilities of the
resulting composite. In this regards, recently, C.H. Kim and B. H. Kim 16 have synthesized ZnO containing
activated carbon nanofibers (ZnO/ACNFs) via electrospinning process and found
that the synergistic effect between ZnO faradaic
capacitance and ACNF’s double layer capacitance led to a good capacitive
behavior. Shi et. al. 17 reported the successful preparation of ZnO nanoflake encapsulated
CNFs with improved capacitance due to the synergistic between the ZnO and CNF
matrix.

In this paper, we report a synthesis, characterization, and
electrochemical investigation of ZnO nano-flakes decorated carbon nanofibers
(ZnO/CNFs) obtained by the electrospinning technique followed by the hydrothermal
process. The conductive carbon nanofiber can be considered as a potential
support to deposit the ZnO on its surface and also provide sufficient surface
area for the effective growth of ZnO nanoflakes. The uniform growth of ZnO nano-flakes
on the surface of carbon nanofibers was expected to enhance
the capacitance and cyclic performance of ZnO.

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