Fast nanostructured carbon microparticle synthesis by one-step high-flux plasma processing


Aussems, D.U.B., Bystrov, K.E., Doǧan, I., Arnas, C., Cabié, M., Neisius, T., Rasinski, M., Lipman, P.J.L., van de Sanden, M.C.M. & Morgan, T.W. (2017). Fast nanostructured carbon microparticle synthesis by one-step high-flux plasma processing. Carbon, 124, 403-414.

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This study demonstrates a fast one-step synthesis method for nanostructured carbon microparticles on graphite samples using high-flux plasma exposure. These structures are considered as potential candidates for energy applications such as Li-ion batteries and supercapacitors. The samples were exposed to plasmas in the linear plasma generator Pilot-PSI with an average hydrogen ion-flux of ∼1024 m−2s−1. The parameter window was mapped by varying the ion energy and flux, and surface temperature. The particle growth depended mainly on the sample gross-erosion and the resulting hydrocarbon concentration in the plasma. A minimum concentration was necessary to initiate particle formation. The surface of the sample was covered with microparticles with an average growth rate of 0.2 μm/s, which is significantly faster than most chemical methods. The particles were initially volumetrically grown in in the gas-phase by a multi-phase process and after deposition on the sample their growth proceeded. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy reveal that the core of these microparticles can be made of an agglomeration of nanoparticles, surrounded by crumpled layers of carbon nanowalls. Gas sorption analysis shows sufficient meso- and macropores for fast mass transport. In conclusion, this processing technique could be a novel synthesis route to nanostructure surfaces for electrochemical applications.