Ionic liquid-templated synthesis of mesoporous carbons

  • Yaoguang Song

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Mesoporous carbons (MCs) have been used for a wide range of applications such as energy storage and soft-templating synthesis proves to be an effective method to generate highly ordered MCs. This thesis systematically explores the feasibility of applying amphiphilic ILs as recyclable template to fabricate ordered MCs for supercapacitors by a combination of computational and experimental techniques.

The thesis begins with a comprehensive review of the literature, which covers the most important aspects of the research and identifies the critical research gaps. This sets up the objectives of the work in a clear way with a templating synthesis route proposed that comprises four major steps: 1) the self-assembly process, 2) the cross-linking of carbon precursors, 3) extraction of IL templates, and 4) calcination. Chapter 2 compares three different computational modelling approaches on their ability to describe the self-assembly of ILs in binary aqueous solutions as benchmark work. This leads on to Chapter 3, where coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulation is applied to gain understanding into the self-assembly of ternary systems that include carbon precursors, and results from modelling are complemented by experiments. Chapter 4 focuses on the next step of the synthesis - cross-linking of the carbon precursor, which reveals the role of cross-linking in the pore architecture, surface functionality, and electrochemical performance of the resulting MCs. Finally, under the guidance of earlier chapters, Chapter 5 focuses on the main aim of the thesis - synthesis of mesoporous carbons using ILs as templates for supercapacitor applications. The thesis ends with a conclusion and reflection chapter. Moving forward from the templating mechanism to practical preparation, this work provides a solid foundation on IL-templated synthesis of ordered MCs.

Thesis embargoed until 31 July 2028.
Date of AwardJul 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsThe Bryden Centre
SupervisorPeter Nockemann (Supervisor), David Rooney (Supervisor) & Xiaolei Zhang (Supervisor)


  • Mesoporous carbon
  • templating synthesis
  • energy storage
  • ionic liquids
  • molecular dynamics

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