Nanoengineering Carbon Spheres as Nanoreactors for Sustainable Energy Applications
Colloidal carbon sphere nanoreactors have been explored extensively as a class of versatile materials for various applications in energy storage, electrochemical conversion, and catalysis, due to their unique properties such as excellent electrical conductivity, high specific surface area, controlled porosity and permeability, and surface functionality. Here, the latest updated research on colloidal carbon sphere nanoreactor, in terms of both their synthesis and applications, is summarized. Various synthetic strategies are first discussed, including the hard template method, the soft template method, hydrothermal carbonization, the microemulsion polymerization method, and extension of the Stöber method. Then, the functionalization of colloidal carbon sphere nanoreactors, including the nanoengineering of compositions and the surface features, is discussed. Afterward, recent progress in the major applications of colloidal carbon sphere nanoreactors, in the areas of energy storage, electrochemical conversion, and catalysis, is presented. Finally, the perspectives and challenges for future developments are discussed in terms of controlled synthesis and functionalization of the colloidal carbon sphere nanoreactors with tunable structure, and the composition and properties that are desirable for practical applications.