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Mesoporous Carbon Nanocapsules from Enzymatically Polymerized Polyphenols Confined in Silica Aerosol Particles

Tonghua Zheng, Jingjing Zhan, Jiebin Pang, Grace Tan, Jibao He, Gary L McPherson, Yunfeng Lu, and Vijay T. John. Chemical Engineering, Tulane University, 300 Lindy Boggs Bldg, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118

We describe a simple and efficient approach to synthesize mesoporous carbon nanocapsules using an environmentally benign biocatalyzed carbon precursor. Enzymatically polymerized poly(4-ethylphenol) has been encapsulated in silica particles through an aerosol-assisted process. Carbonization of the polymer silica nanocomposite leads to a silica carbon nanocapsule composite. The subsequent removal of silica by dilute HF results in mesoporous carbon nanocapsules with a hollow core and a porous shell as revealed by TEM and SEM. The obtained nanocapsules show extremely high BET surface areas with well defined pore size distributions.