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General Method for the Synthesis of Hollow Mesoporous Carbon Spheres with Tunable Textural Properties

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Mezzavilla,  Stefano
Research Department Schüth, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Max Planck Society;

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Baldizzone,  Claudio
Electrocatalysis, Interface Chemistry and Surface Engineering, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Max Planck Society;

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Mayrhofer,  Karl Johann Jakob
Electrocatalysis, Interface Chemistry and Surface Engineering, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Max Planck Society;

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Schüth,  Ferdi
Research Department Schüth, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Mezzavilla, S., Baldizzone, C., Mayrhofer, K. J. J., & Schüth, F. (2015). General Method for the Synthesis of Hollow Mesoporous Carbon Spheres with Tunable Textural Properties. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 7(13), 12914-12922. doi:10.1021/acsami.5b02580.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0027-CFB7-0
Abstract
A versatile synthetic procedure to prepare hollow mesoporous carbon spheres (HMCS) is presented here. This approach is based on the deposition of a homogeneous hybrid polymer/silica composite shell on the outer surface of silica spheres through the surfactant-assisted simultaneous polycondensation of silica and polymer precursors in a colloidal suspension. Such composite materials can be further processed to give hollow mesoporous carbon spheres. The flexibility of this method allows for independent control of the morphological (i.e., core diameter and shell thickness) and textural features of the carbon spheres. In particular, it is demonstrated that the size of the pores within the mesoporous shell can be precisely tailored over an extended range (2–20 nm) by simply adjusting the reaction conditions. In a similar fashion, also the specific carbon surface area as well as the total shell porosity can be tuned. Most importantly, the textural features can be adjusted without affecting the dimension or the morphology of the spheres. The possibility to directly modify the shell textural properties by varying the synthetic parameters in a scalable process represents a distinct asset over the multistep hard-templating (nanocasting) routes. As an exemplary application, Pt nanoparticles were encapsulated in the mesoporous shell of HMCS. The resulting Pt@HMCS catalyst showed an enhanced stability during the oxygen reduction reaction, one of the most important reactions in electrocatalysis. This new synthetic procedure could allow the expansion, perhaps even beyond the lab-scale, of advanced carbon nanostructured supports for applications in catalysis.