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Chem Sci. 2017 May 1;8(5):3538-3546. doi: 10.1039/c6sc04903f. Epub 2017 Mar 7.

Hollow carbon nanobubbles: monocrystalline MOF nanobubbles and their pyrolysis.

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School of Physics and Materials Science , State Key Laboratory of Precision Spectroscopy , East China Normal University , Shanghai , 200241 , China . Email:
International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA) , National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) , 1-1 Namiki , Tsukuba , 305-0044 , Japan.
Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences , Kyoto University , Kyoto , 606-8501 , Japan.
Australian Institute for Innovative Materials (AIIM) , University of Wollongong , Squires Way , North Wollongong , NSW 2500 , Australia . Email: ; Email:
Department of Chemical Engineering , Curtin University , Perth , WA 6845 , Australia . Email:


While bulk-sized metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) face limits to their utilization in various research fields such as energy storage applications, nanoarchitectonics is believed to be a possible solution. It is highly challenging to realize MOF nanobubbles with monocrystalline frameworks. By a spatially controlled etching approach, here, we can achieve the synthesis of zeolitic imidazolate framework (ZIF-8) nanobubbles with a uniform size of less than 100 nm. Interestingly, the ZIF-8 nanobubbles possess a monocrystalline nanoshell with a thickness of around 10 nm. Under optimal pyrolytic conditions, the ZIF-8 nanobubbles can be converted into hollow carbon nanobubbles while keeping their original shapes. The structure of the nanobubble enhances the fast Na+/K+ ion intercalation performance. Such remarkable improvement cannot be realized by conventional MOFs or their derived carbons.

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