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MacLachlan group discovers new type of chiral carbon

Kevin Shopsowitz, a PhD student working in Professor MacLachlan’s group, has discovered a new type of highly porous and chiral carbon, with a number of potential important applications.

By using nanocrystalline cellulose as the template, Kevin discovered a way to create mesoporous carbon films that have a helical network of holes. This gives the carbon a very high surface area – more than 1400 m2 per gram. The research team demonstrated that these free-standing carbon films can be used as electrodes for supercapacitors, which are high energy storage devices that may one day replace lead-acid batteries in cars. Other potential applications of the new porous carbon include adsorption of odors and separation of gases.

A paper reporting these research results recently appeared in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. and was selected as a “VIP” (Very Important Paper) article by reviewers. Angewandte Chemie is a leading international chemistry journal that publishes research from all fields of chemistry.

This work was carried out in collaboration with Dr. Wadood Hamad from FPInnovations. FPInnovations is a Canadian non-profit organization that aims to develop new ways to add value to forest products. The organization is currently investigating potential applications of nanocrystalline cellulose.

To view the paper online, visit: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201105479/abstract.

Photo: Iridescent mesoporous carbon / silica composite material