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Co–N Decorated Hierarchically Porous Graphene Aerogel for Efficient Oxygen Reduction Reaction in Acid

Fu, Xiaogang, Choi, Ja-Yeon, Zamani, Pouyan, Jiang, Gaopeng, Hoque, Md. Ariful, Hassan, Fathy Mohamed, Chen, Zhongwei
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2016 v.8 no.10 pp. 6488-6495
catalysts, catalytic activity, electrolytes, graphene, heat treatment, hydrogen peroxide, macropores, mass transfer, methanol, nitrogen, oxygen, surface area
Nitrogen-functionalized graphene materials have been demonstrated as promising electrocatalyst for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), owning to their respectable activity and excellent stability in alkaline electrolyte. However, they exhibit unacceptable catalytic activity in acid medium. Here, a hierarchically porous Co–N functionalized graphene aerogel is prepared as an efficient catalyst for the ORR in acid electrolyte. In the preparation process, polyaniline (PANI) is introduced as a pore-forming agent to aid in the self-assembly of graphene species into a porous aerogel networks, and a nitrogen precursor to induce in situ nitrogen doping. Therefore, a Co–N decorated graphene aerogel framework with a large surface area (485 m² g–¹) and an abundance of meso/macropores is effectively formed after heat treatment. Such highly desired structures can not only expose sufficient active sites for the ORR but also guarantee the fast mass transfer in the catalytic process, which provides significant catalytic activity with positive onset and half wave potentials, low hydrogen peroxide yield, high resistance to methanol crossover, and remarkable stability that is comparable to commercial Pt/C in acid medium.