Generation of open-ended, worm-like and graphene-like structures from layered spherical carbon materials

Bridget K. Mutuma, Boitumelo Matsoso, Kamalakannan Ranganathan, Daniel Wamwangi, Neil J. Coville*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A study of the effects of size dispersion of Au@SiO2 spheres and silica sphere templates for the synthesis of hollow carbon structures was evaluated using a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) nanocasting method. The diameter of the template, the presence of the gold nanoparticles and the polyvinylpyrrolidone (to cap the Au particles) were found to determine the size, thickness and shape of the synthesized carbon nanostructures. The Au@monodispersed small-sized silica sphere (80-110 nm) template covered with carbon followed by removal of silica produced broken hollow carbon spheres, whereas an equivalent Au@monodispersed large-sized silica sphere (110-150 nm) template produced hollow carbon spheres with a complete carbon shell. Monodispersed and polydispersed pristine silica spheres without Au produced hollow carbon spheres with complete and deformed carbon shells, respectively. Polyvinylpyrrolidone addition to polydispersed SiO2 spheres, followed by carbonization with toluene (1 h) and SiO2 removal, produced wormlike carbon structures. Carbonization (and SiO2 removal) of Au@polydispersed silica spheres for a short carbonization time (1 h) gave a layered carbon nanosheet while at intermediate and longer carbonization times (2-4 h) gave nanotube-like (or worm-like) carbon structures. Raman spectra confirmed the formation of the graphitic nature of the carbon materials. These results highlight the potential use of Au@carbon coreshell structures for the generation of few layered graphene-like unusual nanostructures. As a proof of concept, the wormlike carbon structures were incorporated in organic solar cells and found to give a measurable photovoltaic response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20399-20408
Number of pages10
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number24
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


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