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Carbon Films Produced from Ionic Liquid Precursors

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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Technology Marketing SummaryResearchers at ORNL have invented a more effective method of preparing thin carbons films, a material that has become increasing important to the development of energy-saving storage batteries. Using this new method, it is possible to produce a very resilient, thermally stable porous carbon film characterized by a highly ordered arrangement of uniformly sized pores.

Conventional polymer carbon precursors are typically in solid form and must first be dissolved in a solvent. This is a time-consuming process that can introduce imperfections into the carbon film. Another drawback is that the high viscosity of polymer precursors makes it difficult to apply them as a coating on a substrate. Non-polymer liquid molecules can be easily applied, but they are also highly volatile and, in the end, yield little or no carbon.DescriptionThe new ORNL method eliminates these problems by using an ionic liquid precursor that contains at least one unsaturated carbon–nitrogen bond in either or both of the cationic and anionic portions of the ionic liquid. The extensive cross linking that takes place between carbon precursor molecules during heat processing ensures that the method produces porous carbon films with a highly ordered arrangement of pores and/or highly uniform pore size. These ionic liquid, non-polymer molecules possess both the low vapor pressures and the high char formation capabilities of polymers, under typical carbonization conditions.Benefits• Non-polymer ionic liquid molecules can be used as carbon precursors
• Ionic liquid precursors exhibit the same low vapor pressures and high char formation capabilities of polymers, without the time- intensive processing
• Porous, thin carbon films produced have a highly ordered arrangement of pores and/or highly uniform pore size
Applications and Industries• Separations
• Catalysis
• Battery components for energy storage
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 8,574,534
Carbon films produced from ionic liquid carbon precursors
The invention is directed to a method for producing a film of porous carbon, the method comprising carbonizing a film of an ionic liquid, wherein the ionic liquid has the general formula (X.sup.+a).sub.x(Y.sup.-b).sub.y, wherein the variables a and b are, independently, non-zero integers, and the subscript variables x and y are, independently, non-zero integers, such that ax=by, and at least one of X.sup.+ and Y.sup.- possesses at least one carbon-nitrogen unsaturated bond. The invention is also directed to a composition comprising a porous carbon film possessing a nitrogen content of at least 10 atom %.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory 11/05/2013
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
UT-B ID 200902223DevelopmentAvailable10/04/201110/04/2011

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To: Jennifer Tonzello Caldwell<>