3 years ago

Electrocatalytic N-Doped Graphitic Nanofiber – Metal/Metal Oxide Nanoparticle Composites

Electrocatalytic N-Doped Graphitic Nanofiber – Metal/Metal Oxide Nanoparticle Composites
David Kisailus, Hongjie Tang, Jiangyan Wang, Luz Cruz, Thomas Dugger, Wei Chen
Carbon-based nanocomposites have shown promising results in replacing commercial Pt/C as high-performance, low cost, nonprecious metal-based oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalysts. Developing unique nanostructures of active components (e.g., metal oxides) and carbon materials is essential for their application in next generation electrode materials for fuel cells and metal–air batteries. Herein, a general approach for the production of 1D porous nitrogen-doped graphitic carbon fibers embedded with active ORR components, (M/MOx, i.e., metal or metal oxide nanoparticles) using a facile two-step electrospinning and annealing process is reported. Metal nanoparticles/nanoclusters nucleate within the polymer nanofibers and subsequently catalyze graphitization of the surrounding polymer matrix and following oxidation, create an interconnected graphite–metal oxide framework with large pore channels, considerable active sites, and high specific surface area. The metal/metal oxide@N-doped graphitic carbon fibers, especially Co3O4, exhibit comparable ORR catalytic activity but superior stability and methanol tolerance versus Pt in alkaline solutions, which can be ascribed to the synergistic chemical coupling effects between Co3O4 and robust 1D porous structures composed of interconnected N-doped graphitic nanocarbon rings. This finding provides a novel insight into the design of functional electrocatalysts using electrospun carbon nanomaterials for their application in energy storage and conversion fields. A general approach is reported to produce 1D porous nitrogen-doped graphitic carbon fibers (N-GCFs) with embedded metal/metal oxides. Metal nanoparticles nucleate within the electrospun polymer fibers and subsequently catalyze their graphitization. Benefited from the synergistic effects from electrocatalytic-active Co3O4 and robust nanocarbon structures, the Co3O4@N-GCFs exhibit comparable ORR catalytic activity but superior stability and methanol tolerance versus Pt/C.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/smll.201703459

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