American Chemical Society
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Flexible Coral-like Carbon Nanoarchitectures via a Dual Block Copolymer–Latex Templating Approach

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-12-10, 00:00 authored by Shiori Kubo, Robin J. White, Klaus Tauer, Maria-Magdalena Titirici
Novel, hierarchical, micro- (<2 nm), meso-/small macro- (50–60 nm), and large macro- (2–5 μm) trimodal porous functional carbon monoliths with flexible pore widths and wall textures are fabricated hydrothermally via a one-pot, dual block copolymer–latex templating approach. The trimodal carbon monoliths exhibit a coral-like nanoarchitecture, consisting of a 3D continuous carbon branch network, in which an inverse opal-type nanostructure with ordered pore wall texture is embedded, possessing high surface area (e.g., >800 m2 g–1), large pore volume, and highly layered porosities. The coadded block copolymer plays a triple role in the formation of the porous nanoarchitectures during hydrothermal synthesis: (1) in the formation of inverse opal pores by latex destabilization, (2) in the formation of an ordered microporous carbon wall texture by soft templating effect, and (3) in the formation of a micrometer-sized 3D continuous void by controlling the degree of spinodal phase separation. All the above nanostructuring chemistries are controllable via a simple variation in hydrothermal treatment temperature and reagent/template ratios offering nanostructural flexibility at multiple length scales, while the mild synthesis temperatures provide useful surface functionalities. The resulting materials are promising candidates for applications including (bio)­electrochemistry (e.g., biofuel cells) or as biological scaffolds or separation media.