One-step synthesis of nitrogen-iron coordinated carbon nanotube catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction
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© 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Prohibitively expensive precious metal catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) have been one of the major hurdles in a wide use of electrochemical cells. Recent significant efforts to develop precious metal free catalysts have resulted in excellent catalytic activities. However, complicated and time-consuming synthesis processes have negated the cost benefit. Moreover, detailed analysis about catalytically active sites and the role of each element in these high-performance catalysts containing nanomaterials for large surface areas are often lacking. Here we report a facile one-step synthesis method of nitrogen-iron coordinated carbon nanotube (CNT) catalysts without precious metals. Our catalysts show excellent long-term stability and onset ORR potential comparable to those of other precious metal free catalysts, and the maximum limiting current density from our catalysts is larger than that of the Pt-based catalysts. We carry out a series of synthesis and characterization experiments with/without iron and nitrogen in CNT, and identify that the coordination of nitrogen and iron in CNT plays a key role in achieving the excellent catalytic performances. We anticipate our one-step process could be used for mass production of precious metal free electrocatalysts for a wide range of electrochemical cells including fuel cells and metal-air batteries.
author list (cited authors)
Choi, W., Yang, G., Kim, S. L., Liu, P., Sue, H., & Yu, C.