Solution-processable porous graphitic carbon from bottom-up synthesis and low-temperature graphitization.
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It is urgently desired yet challenging to synthesize porous graphitic carbon (PGC) in a bottom-up manner while circumventing the need for high-temperature pyrolysis. Here we present an effective and scalable strategy to synthesize PGC through acid-mediated aldol triple condensation followed by low-temperature graphitization. The deliberate structural design enables its graphitization in situ in solution and at low pyrolysis temperature. The resulting material features ultramicroporosity characterized by a sharp pore size distribution. In addition, the pristine homogeneous composition of the reaction mixture allows for solution-processability of the material for further characterization and applications. Thin films of this PGC exhibit several orders of magnitude higher electrical conductivity compared to analogous control materials that are carbonized at the same temperatures. The integration of low-temperature graphitization and solution-processability not only allows for an energy-efficient method for the production and fabrication of PGC, but also paves the way for its wider employment in applications such as electrocatalysis, sensing, and energy storage.