Nanoarchitectures for metal−organic framework-derived nanoporous carbons toward supercapacitor applications
Conspectus The future advances of supercapacitors depend on the development of novel carbon materials with optimized porous structures, high surface area, high conductivity, and high electrochemical stability. Traditionally, nanoporous carbons (NPCs) have been prepared by a variety of methods, such as templated synthesis, carbonization of polymer precursors, physical and chemical activation, etc. Inorganic solid materials such as mesoporous silica and zeolites have been successfully utilized as templates to prepare NPCs. However, the hard-templating methods typically involve several synthetic steps, such as preparation of the original templates, formation of carbon frameworks, and removal of the original templates. Therefore, these methods are not favorable for large-scale production. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) with high surface areas and large pore volumes have been studied over the years, and recently, enormous efforts have been made to utilize MOFs for electrochemical applications. However, their low conductivity and poor stability still present major challenges toward their practical applications in supercapacitors. MOFs can be used as precursors for the preparation of NPCs with high porosity. Their parent MOFs can be prepared with endless combinations of organic and inorganic constituents by simple coordination chemistry, and it is possible to control their porous architectures, pore volumes, surface areas, etc. These unique properties of MOF-derived NPCs make them highly attractive for many technological applications. Compared with carbonaceous materials prepared using conventional precursors, MOF-derived carbons have significant advantages in terms of a simple synthesis with inherent diversity affording precise control over porous architectures, pore volumes, and surface areas. In this Account, we will summarize our recent research developments on the preparation of three-dimensional (3-D) MOF-derived carbons for supercapacitor applications. This Account will be divided into three main sections: (1) useful background on carbon materials for supercapacitor applications, (2) the importance of MOF-derived carbons, and (3) potential future developments of MOF-derived carbons for supercapacitors. This Account focuses mostly on carbons derived from two types of MOFs, namely, zeolite imidazolate framework-8 (ZIF-8) and ZIF-67. By using examples from our previous works, we will show the uniqueness of these carbons for achieving high performance by control of the chemical reactions/conditions as well proper utilization in asymmetric/symmetric supercapacitor configurations. This Account will promote further developments of MOF-derived multifunctional carbon materials with controlled porous architectures for optimization of their electrochemical performance toward supercapacitor applications.