Emulsion soft templating of carbide-derived carbon nanospheres with controllable porosity for capacitive electrochemical energy storage

A new approach to produce carbide-derived carbon nanospheres of 20-200 nm in diameter based on a novel soft-templating technique is presented. Platinum catalysis is used for the cross-linking of liquid (allylhydrido)polycarbosilane polymer chains with para-divinylbenzene within oil-in-water miniemulsions. Quantitative implementation of the pre-ceramic polymer can be achieved allowing precise control over the resulting materials. After pyrolysis and high-temperature chlorine treatment, resulting particles offer ideal spherical shape, very high specific surface area (up to 2347 m2/g), and large micro/mesopore volume (up to 1.67 cm3/g). The internal pore structure of the nanospheres is controllable by the composition of the oil phase within the miniemulsions. The materials are highly suitable for electrochemical double-layer capacitors with high specific capacitances in aqueous 1 M Na2SO4solution (110 F/g) and organic 1 M tetraethylammonium tetrafluoroborate in acetonitrile (130 F/g).