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Bifunctional oxygen electrodes of homogeneous Co4N nanocrystals@N-doped carbon hybrids for rechargeable Zn-air batteries

Chen, Lulu, Zhang, Yelong, Liu, Xiangjian, Long, Ling, Wang, Siyu, Xu, Xiaolong, Liu, Minchao, Yang, Wenxiu, Jia, Jianbo
Carbon 2019 v.151 pp. 10-17
batteries, carbon, catalysts, durability, electrical conductivity, electrochemistry, electrodes, energy conversion, melamine, nanocrystals, nanoparticles, nitrides, nitrogen, oxygen, oxygen production, platinum, surface area
The development of transition metal nitrides/carbon hybrids with well-organized morphology, outstanding efficiency and durability for Zn-air batteries are of great urgency. Herein, a morphology-controlled strategy to efficiently fabricate uniform Co4N nanoparticles anchored on N-doped carbon (Co4N@NC-m) is reported. The diameters and distribution of Co4N nanocrystals can be tuned to be homogeneous profited by abundant N sources in melamine. Moreover, thanks to the advantages of higher nitrogen doping content, better electrical conductivity, higher degree of graphitization, and larger electrochemical surface area, Co4N@NC-m possesses excellent oxygen reduction reaction (half-wave potential of 0.87 V) and oxygen evolution reaction (overpotential of 398 mV at 10 mA cm−2) activities in basic solution. The Zn-air battery fabricated with Co4N@NC-m owns higher open circuit voltage (1.490 V), larger power density, and better rechargeability than those of the commercial IrO2 + 20% Pt/C catalysts, which proves the potential application in practical energy conversion devices.