In capacitive deionization (CDI), salt water is passed through two polarized electrodes, whereby the salt is adsorbed onto the electrode surface and removed from the water stream. This approach has received renewed interest for water desalination due to the development of new high-surface area carbon-based nanomaterials. However, there is currently limited understanding as to how electrode geometry, surface properties, and capacitance affect ion capture. In this work, we experimentally investigate various standard carbon-based electrode materials, including activated carbon and carbon cloths, as well as microfabricated silicon structures for CDI. Electrochemical characterization through cyclic voltammetry was used to determine the electrochemical properties of each material. In addition, a mini-channel test cell was fabricated to perform parametric studies on ion capture. By controlling electrode geometry and chemistry in these studies, the work helps elucidate transport mechanisms and provide insight into the design of optimal materials for capacitive deionization.

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