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Keywords:

  • ATRP;
  • carbon materials;
  • electrochemistry;
  • polyacrylonitrile;
  • porous nanostructures

Abstract

The design of carbon materials for improved electrochemical systems should combine the preferential occurrence of pyridinic functionalities and a structure that maximizes their exposure to the surface. The carbonization of nitrogen-rich polyacrylonitrile (PAN) retains a high level of nitrogen content, with a large percentage of the functionalities taking the form of pyridinic species at the graphene edges. A block copolymer precursor containing PAN and a second thermally sacrificial block can be converted to a nitrogen-rich carbon material with a mesoporous network mimicking that of the precursor. Here, we highlight the structural advantages of this templating approach and their improvement in several electrochemical systems.