Structure and electrochemical performance of carbide-derived carbon nanopowders

Microporous carbon materials are widely used in gas storage, sorbents, supercapacitor electrodes, water desalination, and catalyst supports. While these microporous carbons usually have a particle size in the 1-100 μm range, here the synthesis of porous carbide-derived carbon (CDC) with particle diameters around 30 nm by extraction of titanium from nanometer-sized titanium carbide (TiC) powder at temperatures of 200 °C and above is reported. Nanometer-sized CDCs prepared at 200-400 °C show a disordered structure and the presence of CN sp1 bonds. Above 400 °C, the CN bond disappears with the structure transition to disordered carbon similar to that observed after synthesis from carbide micropowders. Compared to CDCs produced from micrometer-sized TiC, nano-CDC has a broader pore size distribution due to interparticle porosity and a large contribution from the surface layers. The material shows excellent electrochemical performance due to its easily accessible pores and a large specific surface area.