3D Carbon Nanomaterials for Energy Applications
Using a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method, we have synthesized vertically aligned BCN nanotubes (VA-BCNs). Owing to a synergetic effect arising from co-doping of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with both nitrogen and boron, the resultant VA-BCNs showed significantly improved capacitance and electrocatalytic activity toward oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) with respect to undoped CNTs, CNTs doped by boron or nitrogen only. We have also developed a rational strategy for creating the 3D pillared vertically-aligned carbon nanotube (VACNT)-graphene architectures by intercalated growth of VACNTs into thermally-expanded highly ordered pyrolytic graphite (HOPG). By controlling the fabrication process, the length of the VACNT pillars can be tuned. In conjunction with electrodeposition of nickel hydroxide to introduce the pseudo-capacitance, these 3D pillared VACNT-graphene architectures with a controllable nanotube length were demonstrated to show a high specific capacitance and remarkable rate capability, significantly outperformed many electrode materials currently used in the state-of-the-art supercapacitors. Following the pioneering work on the development of graphene foams (GFs), a new class of 3D graphene-based materials, by Hui-ming Chen and his co-workers, we further prepared 3D BCN graphene foams to show a high ORR electrocatalytic activity. In this talk, we will summarize our work on the development of 3D carbon nanomaterials for energy-related applications.