[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Silicon (Si) has been regarded as next-generation anode for high-energy lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) due to its high Li storage capacity (4200 mA h g−1). However, the mechanical degradation and resultant capacity fade critically hinder its practical application. In this regard, we demonstrate that nanocoating of Si spheres with a 3 nm titanium dioxide (TiO2) layer via atomic layer deposition (ALD) can utmostly balance the high conductivity and the good structural stability to improve the cycling stability of Si core material. The resultant sample, Si@TiO2-3 nm core–shell nanospheres, exhibits the best electrochemical performance of all with a highest initial Coulombic efficiency and specific charge capacity retention after 50 cycles at 0.1C (82.39% and 1580.3 mA h g−1). In addition to making full advantage of the ALD technique, we believe that our strategy and comprehension in coating the electrode and the active material could provide a useful pathway towards enhancing Si anode material itself and community of LIBs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This work presents a soft templating approach for mesoporous carbon using the polyphenolic heterogeneous biomass, chestnut tannin, as the carbon precursor. By varying synthesis parameters such as tannin:surfactant ratio, cross-linker, reaction time and acid catalyst, the pore structure could be controllably modulated from lamellar to a more ordered hexagonal array. Carbonization at 600 °C under nitrogen produced a bimodal micro-mesoporous carbonaceous material exhibiting enhanced hydrogen bonding with the soft template, similar to that shown by soft-templating of phenolic-formaldehyde resins, allowing for a tailorable pore size. By utilizing the acidic nature of chestnut tannin (i.e. gallic and ellagic acid), hexagonal-type mesostructures were formed without the use of an acid catalyst. The porous carbon materials were activated with ammonia to increase the available surface area and incorporate nitrogen-containing functionality which led to a maximum CO2 adsorption capacity at 1 bar of 3.44 mmol/g and 2.27 mmol/g at 0 °C and 25 °C, respectively. The ammonia-activated carbon exhibited multiple peaks in the adsorption energy distribution which indicates heterogeneity of adsorption sites for CO2 capture.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2016 · Microporous and Mesoporous Materials
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a rational design and synthesis of a novel porous pyridine-functionalized polycarbazole for efficient CO2 capture based on the density functional theory calculations. The task-specific polymer, generated through a one-step FeCl3-catalyzed oxidative coupling reaction, exhibits a superior CO2 uptake at 1.0 bar and 273 K (5.57 mmol g-1).
No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · Chemical Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The formation constants of the UO22+ cation with the amidoximate ligands bzam (benzamidoxime) and acetam (acetamidoxime) are reported. These are of interest in light of their proposed use as the functional groups of extractants for uranium in seawater. The formation constants of bzam with UO22+ were measured by monitoring the absorbance of the π→π∗ transitions in the UV spectrum of the bzam ligand in the presence of 1:1 UO22+ as a function of pH. This yielded log K1 = 12.4 for UO22+ with bzam, and log K = 6.9 for the equilibrium UO2(bzam)+ + OH- = UO2(bzam)OH at 25 °C and ionic strength zero. The bzam complexes were also studied monitoring the fluorescence of the UO22+ system. Analysis of the intense fluorescence that occurs in 5 x 10-6 M UO22+ solutions between pH 5 and 9 suggested that this was due to the [(UO2)3O(OH)3]+ trimer. Monomeric species such as UO22+ and [UO2(OH)4]2-, and dimers such as [(UO2)(OH)2]2+, fluoresce only weakly. Titration of such solutions with bzam supported the above log K values measured by absorbance, and with higher bzam concentrations yielded log β2 = 22.3. The acetam ligand does not have any absorbance, so that complex-formation was monitored by fluorescence only. Formation constants measured by fluorescence may differ from those measured by other techniques such as absorbance. The agreement obtained between log K values measured by absorbance and fluorescence for the bzam complex of UO22+ supported the log K values measured for the acetam complexes by florescence alone were reliable: log K1 = 13.6, log β2 = 23.7, and log K UO2(acetam)+ + OH- = UO2(acetam)OH = 6.8. The high log K values found for the bzam and acetam complexes of UO22+ were analyzed using DFT calculations. These log K values are related to the ability of polymer-based extractants bearing bzam or acetam type functional groups to extract UO22+ at a concentration of 1.3 x 10-8M and in the competing 0.0025 M CO32- present in the oceans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The electrochemical reduction of CO2 can not only convert it back into fuels, but is also an efficient manner to store forms of renewable energy. Catalysis with silver is a possible technology for CO2 reduction. We report that in the case of monolithic porous silver, the film thickness and primary particle size of the silver particles, which can be controlled by electrochemical growth/reduction of AgCl film on silver substrate, have a strong influence on the electrocatalytic activity towards CO2 reduction. A 6 μm thick silver film with particle sizes of 30–50 nm delivers a CO formation current of 10.5 mA cm−2 and a mass activity of 4.38 A gAg−1 at an overpotential of 0.39 V, comparable to levels achieved with state-of-the-art gold catalysts.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heterogeneous catalysis with core-shell structures has been a large area of focus for many years. This paper reviews the most recent work and research in coreshell catalysts utilizing noble metals, specifically gold, as the core within a metal oxide shell. The advantage of the core-shell structure lies in its capacity to retain catalytic activity under thermal and mechanical stress, which is a pivotal consideration when synthesizing any catalyst. This framework is particularly useful for gold nanoparticles in protecting them from sintering so that they retain their size, structure, and most importantly their catalytic efficiency. The different methods of synthesizing such a structure have been compiled into three categories: seed-mediated growth, post selective oxidation treatment, and one-pot chemical synthesis. The selective oxidation of carbon monoxide and reduction of nitrogen containing compounds, such as nitrophenol and nitrostyrene, have been studied over the past few years to evaluate the functionality and stability of the core-shell catalysts. Different factors that could influence the catalyst’s performance are the size, structure, choice of metal oxide shell and noble metal core and thereby the interfacial synergy and lattice mismatch between the core and shell. In addition, the morphology of the shell also plays a critical role, including its porosity, density, and thickness. This review covers the synthesis and characterization of gold-metal oxide core-shell structures, as well as how they are utilized as catalysts for carbon monoxide (CO) oxidation and selective reduction of nitrogen-containing compounds.
No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hard-sphere-templating method has been widely used to synthesize hollow carbon spheres (HCSs), in which the spheres were firstly coated with a carbon precursor, followed by carbonization and core removal. The obtained HCSs are generally amorphous or weakly graphitized (with the help of graphitization catalysts). In this work, we report on the fabrication of graphitized HCSs and yolk-shell Au@HCS nanostructures using a modified templating method, in which smooth, uniform graphene layers were grown on SiO2 spheres or Au@SiO2 nanoparticles via metal-catalyst-free chemical vapor deposition (CVD) of methane. Our work not only provides a new method to fabricate high-quality, graphitized HCSs but also demonstrates a reliable approach to grow quality graphene on oxide surfaces using CVD without the presence of metal catalysts.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tin dioxide (SnO2) is a widely investigated lithium (Li) storage material because of its easy preparation, two-step storage mechanism and high specific capacity for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). In this contribution, a phase-pure cobalt-doped SnO2 (Co/SnO2) and a cobalt and nitrogen co-doped SnO2 (Co-N/SnO2) nanocrystals are prepared to explore their Li storage behaviors. It is found that the morphology, specific surface area, and electrochemical properties could be largely modulated in the doped and co-doped SnO2 nanocrystals. Gavalnostatic cycling results indicate that the Co-N/SnO2 electrode delivers a specific capacity as high as 716 mAh g−1 after 50 cycles, and the same outstanding rate performance can be observed in subsequent cycles due to the ionic/electronic conductivity enhancement by co-doping effect. Further, microstructure observation indicates the existence of intermediate phase of Li3N with high ionic conductivity upon cycling, which probably accounts for the improvements of Co-N/SnO2 electrodes. The method of synergetic doping into SnO2 with Co and N, with which the electrochemical performances is enhanced remarkably, undoubtedly, will have an important influence on the material itself and community of LIBs as well.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Scientific Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reaction pathways for higher alcohol synthesis from syngas are studied over K/MoS2 domains supported on mesoporous carbon (C) and mixed MgAl oxide (MMO) via addition of methanol, ethanol, and ethylene co-feeds. A methanol co-feed results in an increase in ethanol and methane production for the catalysts studied. Ethanol or ethylene co-feeds yield increased C3+OH and C2+HC over the supported catalysts. No change is observed in the product distribution over K/bulk-MoS2 with an ethanol co-feed, but 1-propanol production significantly increases in the presence of ethylene, suggesting the formation of ethyl species from ethanol and/or the adsorption of ethanol are rate-controlling for 1-propanol formation when ethanol is co-fed. Ethylene and ethanol co-feeds yield similar production rates of C3+OH over the MMO catalyst, indicating that alcohol formation likely proceeds primarily via the same acyl intermediate as olefin carbonylation. Supports do seem to have an important influence on the reaction pathways. Specifically, acidic carbon support seems to facilitate alcohol dehydration/hydrogenation to produce alkanes, while MMO influences methanol plus 1-propanol coupling to form isobutyl alcohol. However, Mo–K–MMO sites are key for superior normalized C3+OH productivity with ethanol and ethylene co-feeds over the MMO catalyst.
No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Catalysis Science & Technology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Carbon capture is necessary to reduce CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels, which has led to global warming. Molecular simulations offer chemical insights and design principles for new separation media and for understanding the separation process. In this review, we summarize recent applications of simulation methods from ab initio and density functional theory to classical molecular dynamics and Grand canonical Monte Carlo in understanding ionic liquids and porous carbonaceous materials for CO2 separation, especially the postcombustion CO2 /N2 separation. We highlight design and simulation of the porous two-dimensional (2D) materials as the highly selective membranes for CO2 separation. Simulated structure–property relationships for the materials are discussed in connection to the corresponding chemisorption, physisorption, or membrane process. In chemisorption, the focus is on reducing the heat of reaction with CO2 ; in physisorption, the key is to increase the binding strength via CO2 -philic groups; in membrane process, the key is to increase solubility for ionic-liquid membranes and to control pore size for 2D materials. Challenges and opportunities for simulating emerging materials are also discussed. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.
No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Wiley interdisciplinary reviews: Computational Molecular Science.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The rare-earth elements (REEs) are a group of 17 chemically similar metallic elements; this group consists of scandium, yttrium, and 15 lanthanides. Due to their essential role in permanent magnets, lamp phosphors, catalysts, and rechargeable batteries, the REEs have become an essential component of the global transition to a green economy. Currently, with China producing over 90 % of the global REE output and its increasingly tightening export quota, the rest of the world is confronted with the potential risk of REE shortage. As such, many countries will have to rely on recycling REEs from pre-consumer scrap, industrial residues, and REE-containing end-of-life products. Over the course of the last two decades, ionic liquids have been increasingly used to separate REEs in the recycling process. Ionic liquids (ILs) are a class of molten salts that are liquid at temperatures below 100 °C. ILs are amenable to the recycling of REEs because the cation and anion components are readily tailored to a given process, and they offer numerous advantages over typical organic solvents, such as low volatility, low flammability, a broad temperature range of stability, the ability to dissolve both inorganic and organic compounds, high conductivity, and wide electrochemical windows. In this chapter, we discuss the performance of several IL-based extraction systems used to separate and recycle REEs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A novel hybrid battery utilizing an aluminum anode, a LiFePO4 cathode and an acidic ionic liquid electrolyte based on 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride (EMImCl) and aluminum trichloride (AlCl3) (EMImCl-AlCl3, 1-1.1 in molar ratio) with or without LiAlCl4 is proposed. The hybrid ion battery delivers an initial high capacity of 160 mA h g(-1) at a current rate of C/5. It also shows good rate capability and cycling performance.
No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Chemical Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability to selectively extract lanthanides is crucial in hydrometallurgy and the nuclear fuel cycle. The capabilities of 1-hydroxy-6-N-octylcarboxamido-2(1H)-pyridinone (octyl-HOPO) as an extractant for the separation of lanthanides and actinides was studied for the first time. Octyl-HOPO greatly outperformed the traditional ligand di-2-ethylhexyl phosphoric acid (DEHPA).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) represent a new family of microporous materials; however, microporous-mesoporous hierarchical MOF materials have been less investigated because of the lack of simple, reliable methods to introduce mesopores to the crystalline microporous particles. State-of-the-art MOF hierarchical materials have been prepared by ligand extension methods or by using a template, resulting in intrinsic mesopores of longer ligands or replicated pores from template agents, respectively. However, mesoporous MOF materials obtained through ligand extension often collapse in the absence of guest molecules, which dramatically reduces the size of the pore aperture. Although the template-directed strategy allows for the preparation of hierarchical materials with larger mesopores, the latter requires a template removal step, which may result in the collapse of the implemented mesopores. Recently, a general template-free synthesis of hierarchical microporous crystalline frameworks, such as MOFs and Prussian blue analogues (PBAs), has been reported. This new method is based on the kinetically controlled precipitation (perturbation), with simultaneous condensation and redissolution of polymorphic nanocrystallites in the mother liquor. This method further eliminates the use of extended organic ligands and the micropores do not collapse upon removal of trapped guest solvent molecules, thus yielding hierarchical MOF materials with intriguing porosity in the gram scale. The hierarchical MOF materials prepared in this way exhibited exceptional properties when tested for the adsorption of large organic dyes over their corresponding microporous frameworks, due to the enhanced pore accessibility and electrolyte diffusion within the mesopores. As for PBAs, the pore size distribution of these materials can be tailored by changing the metals substituting Fe cations in the PB lattice. For these, the textural mesopores increased from approximately 10 nm for Cu analogue (mesoCuHCF), to 16 nm in Co substituted compound (mesoCoHCF), and to as large as 30 nm for the Ni derivative (mesoNiHCF). While bulk PB and analogues have a higher capacitance than hierarchical analogues for Na-batteries, the increased accessibility to the microporous channels of PBAs allow for faster intercalated ion exchange and diffusion than in bulk PBA crystals. Thus, hierarchical PBAs are promising candidates for electrodes in future electrochemical energy storage devices with faster charge-discharge rates than batteries, namely pseudocapacitors. Finally, this new synthetic method opens the possibility to prepare hierarchical materials having bimodal distribution of mesopores, and to tailor the structural properties of MOFs for different applications, including contrasting agents for MRI, and drug delivery.
No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Accounts of Chemical Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effects of the surface structure of ceria (CeO2) on the nature, strength, and amount of species resulting from SO2 adsorption were studied using in situ IR and Raman spectroscopies coupled with mass spectrometry, along with first-principles calculations based on density functional theory (DFT). CeO2 nanocrystals with different morphologies, namely, rods (representing a defective structure), cubes (100 facet), and octahedra (111 facet), were used to represent different CeO2 surface structures. IR and Raman spectroscopic studies showed that the structure and binding strength of adsorbed species from SO2 depend on the shape of the CeO2 nanocrystals. SO2 adsorbs mainly as surface sulfites and sulfates at room temperature on CeO2 rods, cubes, and octahedra that were either oxidatively or reductively pretreated. The formation of sulfites is more evident on CeO2 octahedra, whereas surface sulfates are more prominent on CeO2 rods and cubes. This is explained by the increasing reducibility of the surface oxygen in the order octahedra < cubes < rods. Bulk sulfites are also formed during SO2 adsorption on reduced CeO2 rods. The formation of surface sulfites and sulfates on CeO2 cubes is in good agreement with our DFT results of SO2 interactions with the CeO2(100) surface. CeO2 rods desorb SO2 at higher temperatures than cubes and octahedra nanocrystals, but bulk sulfates are formed on CeO2 rods and cubes after high-temperature desorption whereas only some surface sulfates/sulfites are left on octahedra. This difference is rationalized by the fact that CeO2 rods have the highest surface basicity and largest amount of defects among the three nanocrystals, so they bind and react with SO2 strongly and are the most degraded after SO2 adsorption cycles. The fundamental understanding obtained in this work on the effects of the surface structure and defects on the interaction of SO2 with CeO2 provides insights for the design of more sulfur-resistant CeO2-based catalysts.
No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · The Journal of Physical Chemistry C
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A hyper-crosslinked β-cyclodextrin porous polymer (BnCD-HCPP) was designed and synthesized facilely by β-cyclodextrin benzylation and subsequent crosslinking via a Friedel–Crafts alkylation route. The BnCD-HCPP shows an extremely high BET surface area, large pore volume, and high thermal stability, making it a highly efficient adsorbent for removal of aromatic pollutants from water. The adsorption efficiency in terms of distribution coefficient, defined as the ratio of adsorption capacity to equilibrium adsorbate concentration, ranged from 103 to 106 mL g−1 within a concentration of 0–100 ppm, one order of magnitude higher than that of other β-cyclodextrin-based adsorbents reported previously. The molar percentage of adsorbate to β-cyclodextrin exceeded 300%, suggesting that the adsorption occurred not only in the cyclodextrin cavities via a 1:1 complexation, but also in the nanopores of the BnCD-HCPP created during the hyper-crosslinking. The BnCD-HCPP can be further functionalized by incorporation of gold nanoparticles for catalytic transformation of adsorbed phenolic compounds such as 4-nitrophenol to 4-aminophenol.
No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Chemical Science