Facile preparation of nitrogen-doped graphene as a metal-free catalyst for oxygen reduction reaction

Ziyin Lin, Min-kyu Song, Yong Ding, Yan Liu, Meilin Liu, Ching-ping Wong
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics: PCCP 2012 March 14, 14 (10): 3381-7
Nitrogen-doped graphene (nG) is a promising metal-free catalyst for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) on the cathode of fuel cells. Here we report a facile preparation of nG via pyrolysis of graphene oxide with melamine. The morphology of the nG is revealed using scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy while the successful N doping is confirmed by electron energy loss spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The resulting nG shows high electrocatalytic activity toward ORR in an alkaline solution with an onset potential of -0.10 V vs. Ag/AgCl reference electrode. The nG catalyzed oxygen reduction exhibits a favorable formation of water via a four-electron pathway. Good stability and anti-crossover property are also observed, which are advantageous over the Pt/C catalyst. Furthermore, the effect of pyrolysis temperature on the structure and activity of nG is systematically studied to gain some insights into the chemical reactions during pyrolysis.

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