A Catalytic Etching-Wetting-Dewetting Mechanism in the Formation of Hollow Graphitic Carbon Fiber

Yuming Chen, Jichen Dong, Lu Qiu, Xiaoyan Li, Qianqian Li, Hongtao Wang, Shijing Liang, Haimin Yao, Haitao Huang, Huajian Gao, Jang Kyo Kim, Feng Ding, Li Min Zhou

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Hollow graphitic carbon nanofibers (HGCNFs) have great promise for many important applications, such as catalysis, sensors, energy conversion, gas storage, and electronic devices. Here, we report a catalytic etching-wetting-dewetting mechanism in synthesizing HGCNFs with both hollow spherical-like and tunnel-like pores. With in situ transmission electron microscope imaging, we show that the spherical pores are formed by the evaporation of encapsulated Ni on the surface of amorphous carbon nanofiber and that hollow tunnels are developed through continuous etching of the amorphous carbon under catalysis of Ni nanoparticles. Theoretical calculations and simulations reveal that continuous tunnel etching is driven by the wetting-to-dewetting transition of the Ni-tunnel wall interaction during the catalytic graphitization of the amorphous carbon wall. In a typical application, we demonstrate that the synthesized HGCNFs, with a capacity about three times higher than that of their non-hollow counterparts, are excellent potential candidates for CO2capture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-310
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2017


  • carbon nanofibers
  • CO capture 2
  • hollow structure
  • in situ TEM
  • MD simulation
  • N doping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Materials Chemistry


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