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Carbon materials are key components in energy storage and conversion devices and most directly impact device performance. The need for advanced carbon materials has become more pressing with the increasing demand for high-performance energy conversion and storage facilities. Nonetheless, realizing significant performance improvements across devices remains challenging because of the difficulties in controlling irregularly organized microstructures and the specific carbon structures concerned. With the aim of realizing devisable structures, adjustable functions, and performance breakthroughs, this review proposes the concept of superstructured carbons. In fact, superstructured carbons are a category of carbon-based materials characterized by precisely built pores, networks, and interfaces. This unique category meets the particular functional demands of high-performance devices and exceeds the rigid structure of traditional carbons. In the context of these superstructured carbons, we present methods for realizing both custom-built structures and target-oriented functionalities. For specific energy-related reactions, we emphasize the targeted property-structure relationships in these well-defined superstructured carbons. Finally, future developments and practicability challenges of superstructured carbons are also proposed.

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Superstructured carbon materials: design and energy applications

Show Author's information Debin Kong1,2,Wei Lv1,Ruliang Liu3Yan-Bing He1Dingcai Wu3Feng Li4Ruowen Fu3Quan-Hong Yang5Feiyu Kang1( )
Shenzhen Geim Graphene Center and Engineering Laboratory for Functionalized Carbon Materials, Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, China
College of New Energy, China University of Petroleum (East China), Qingdao 266580, China
Materials Science Institute, PCFM Lab and GDHPRC Lab, School of Chemistry, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science, Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China
Nanoyang Group, State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering, School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China

Debin Kong and Wei Lv contributed equally to this work.


Carbon materials are key components in energy storage and conversion devices and most directly impact device performance. The need for advanced carbon materials has become more pressing with the increasing demand for high-performance energy conversion and storage facilities. Nonetheless, realizing significant performance improvements across devices remains challenging because of the difficulties in controlling irregularly organized microstructures and the specific carbon structures concerned. With the aim of realizing devisable structures, adjustable functions, and performance breakthroughs, this review proposes the concept of superstructured carbons. In fact, superstructured carbons are a category of carbon-based materials characterized by precisely built pores, networks, and interfaces. This unique category meets the particular functional demands of high-performance devices and exceeds the rigid structure of traditional carbons. In the context of these superstructured carbons, we present methods for realizing both custom-built structures and target-oriented functionalities. For specific energy-related reactions, we emphasize the targeted property-structure relationships in these well-defined superstructured carbons. Finally, future developments and practicability challenges of superstructured carbons are also proposed.

Keywords: energy storage, structure-activity relationship, carbon materials, superstructured carbons



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Publication history
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Publication history

Received: 25 December 2023
Revised: 20 January 2024
Accepted: 21 January 2024
Published: 30 January 2024
Issue date: December 2023


© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Tsinghua University Press.


This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2014CB932400), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 51932005, 52022041 and 52172040), Taishan Scholar Project of Shandong Province (No. tsqnz20221118).

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