A team of Chinese researchers has discovered a new way to synthesise hollow carbonnanospheres and used them to make a potassium–ion battery (KIB), a cheaper alternative to a lithium–ion one.
Hollow carbon nanospheres show great promise in energy storage, catalysis and biomedicine. While classic approaches to preparing hollow carbon structures require hard templates and hazardous chemicals, such as sodium hydroxide or hydrogen fluoride, this new approach is a highly efficient one-step process, explains An-Min Cao, one of the lead authors and a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Cao’s team discovered that polymeric resins can be used to grow nanospheres in a controlled manner. They can then be carbonised in the oven at 1200℃, and transformed into the final hollow carbon product.