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Materials 2017, 10(5), 564; doi:10.3390/ma10050564

Surface Modification of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes via Hemoglobin-Derived Iron and Nitrogen-Rich Carbon Nanolayers for the Electrocatalysis of Oxygen Reduction

1
College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400044, China
2
Research Institute for New Materials Technology, Engineering Research Center of New Energy Storage Devices and Applications, Chongqing University of Arts and Sciences, Chongqing 402160, China
3
School of Materials and Chemical Engineering, Chongqing University of Arts and Sciences, Chongqing 402160, China
These authors contributed equally to this work
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sofoklis Makridis
Received: 29 December 2016 / Revised: 22 April 2017 / Accepted: 3 May 2017 / Published: 20 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Materials)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2830 KB, uploaded 22 May 2017]   |  

Abstract

The great challenge of boosting the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity of non-noble-metal electrocatalysts is how to achieve effective exposure and full utilization of nitrogen-rich active sites. To realize the goals of high utilization of active sites and fast electron transport, here we report a new strategy for synthesis of an iron and nitrogen co-doped carbon nanolayers-wrapped multi-walled carbon nanotubes as ORR electrocatalyst (N-C@CNT-Fe) via using partially carbonized hemoglobin as a single-source precursor. The onset and half-wave potentials for ORR of N-C@CNT-Fe are only 45 and 54 mV lower than those on a commercial Pt/C (20 wt.% Pt) catalyst, respectively. Besides, this catalyst prepared in this work has been confirmed to follow a four-electron reaction mechanism in ORR process, and also displays ultra-high electrochemical cycling stability in both acidic and alkaline electrolytes. The enhancement of ORR activity can be not only attributed to full exposure and utilization of active site structures, but also can be resulted from the improvement of electrical conductivity owing to the introduction of CNT support. The analysis of X-ray photoelectric spectroscopy shows that both Fe–N and graphitic-N species may be the ORR active site structures of the prepared catalyst. Our study can provide a valuable idea for effective improvement of the electrocatalytic activity of non-noble-metal ORR catalysts. View Full-Text
Keywords: oxygen reduction; electrocatalyst; active site; carbon nanotube; hemoglobin oxygen reduction; electrocatalyst; active site; carbon nanotube; hemoglobin
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Li, W.; Sun, L.; Hu, R.; Liao, W.; Li, Z.; Li, Y.; Guo, C. Surface Modification of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes via Hemoglobin-Derived Iron and Nitrogen-Rich Carbon Nanolayers for the Electrocatalysis of Oxygen Reduction. Materials 2017, 10, 564.

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