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Electrochemical lithiation synthesis of nanoporous materials with superior catalytic and capacitive activity


Nanoporous materials have attracted great technological interest during the past two decades, essentially due to their wide range of applications: they are used as catalysts, molecular sieves, separators and gas sensors as well as for electronic and electrochemical devices1,2,3,4,5. Most syntheses of nanoporous materials reported so far have focused on template-assisted bottom-up processes, including soft templating6,7,8,9,10 (chelating agents, surfactants, block copolymers and so on) and hard templating11,12 (porous alumina, carbon nanotubes and nanoporous materials) methods. Here, we exploit a mechanism implicitly occurring in lithium batteries at deep discharge13,14,15,16,17,18 to develop it into a room-temperature template-free method of wide applicability in the synthesis of not only transition metals but also metal oxides with large surface area and pronounced nanoporosity associated with unprecedented properties. The power of this top-down method is demonstrated by the synthesis of nanoporous Pt and RuO2, both exhibiting superior performance: the Pt prepared shows outstanding properties when used as an electrocatalyst for methanol oxidation, and the RuO2, when used as a supercapacitor electrode material, exhibits a distinctly better performance than that previously reported for non-hydrated RuO2 (refs 1920).

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Figure 1
Figure 2: Electrochemical lithiation and delithiation.
Figure 3: Characterization of nanoporous Pt.
Figure 4: Characterization of nanoporous RuO2.


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The authors are indebted to the Max Planck Society and acknowledge support in the framework of the ENERCHEM project. The authors thank P. Kopold, A. Schulz and A. Fuchs for their technical support and H. Li and L. Z. Fan for helpful discussions.

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Correspondence to Yu-Guo Guo or Joachim Maier.

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Hu, YS., Guo, YG., Sigle, W. et al. Electrochemical lithiation synthesis of nanoporous materials with superior catalytic and capacitive activity. Nature Mater 5, 713–717 (2006).

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