The effect of nitrogen species on the catalytic properties of N-doped graphene

Sci Rep. 2021 Dec 14;11(1):23970. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-03403-8.

ABSTRACT

The production of effective catalysts in the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) continues to be a great challenge for scientists. A constant increase in demand for energy storage materials is followed by a proportionate increase in the number of reports on electrocatalyst synthesis. The scientific world focuses on environmentally friendly materials synthesized in accordance with the safest possible. In this work, we developed a facile method of obtaining heavy-metal-free electrode materials that are effective in ORR. Graphene-based catalysts were doped using azodicarbonamide (ADC) as the source of nitrogen, then carbonized at high temperatures in the range of 700-900 °C under inert gas flow. The produced materials were tested as catalysts for ORR, which is the most important reaction for Zn-air batteries and fuel cells. All obtained nitrogen-doped graphene foams showed increased catalytic activity in ORR owing to active sites created by nitrogen functional groups on the graphene surface. This paper shows that carbonization temperature has a significant impact on nitrogen content and that a small percentage of nitrogen may have a positive effect on the catalytic activity of the obtained materials. The number of transferred electrons in ORR was found to range from three to the maximal theoretical value, i.e., four.

PMID:34907258 | PMC:PMC8671485 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-021-03403-8

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