Mussel-inspired one-pot synthesis of transition metal and nitrogen co-doped carbon (M/N-C) as efficient oxygen catalysts for Zn-air batteries

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

  • Bing Li
  • Ye Chen
  • Xiaoming Ge
  • Jianwei Chai
  • Xiao Zhang
  • T. S. Andy Hor
  • Guojun Du
  • Zhaolin Liu
  • Yun Zong

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5067-5075
Journal / PublicationNanoscale
Volume8
Issue number9
Online published29 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

Abstract

Transition metal and nitrogen co-doping into carbon is an effective approach to promote the catalytic activities towards the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and/or oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in the resultant electrocatalysts, M/N-C. The preparation of such catalysts, however, is often complicated and in low yield. Herein we report a robust approach for easy synthesis of M/N-C hybrids in high yield, which includes a mussel-inspired polymerization reaction at room temperature and a subsequent carbonization process. With the introduction of selected transition metal salts into an aqueous solution of dopamine (DA), the obtained mixture self-polymerizes to form metal-containing polydopamine (M-PDA) composites, e.g. Co-PDA, Ni-PDA and Fe-PDA. Upon carbonization at elevated temperatures, these metal-containing composites were converted into M/N-C, i.e. Co-PDA-C, Ni-PDA-C and Fe-PDA-C, respectively, whose morphologies, chemical compositions, and electrochemical performances were fully studied. Enhanced ORR activities were found in all the obtained hybrids, with Co-PDA-C standing out as the most promising catalyst with excellent stability and catalytic activities towards both ORR and OER. This was further proven in Zn-air batteries (ZnABs) in terms of discharge voltage stability and cycling performance. At a discharge-charge current density of 2 mA cm-2 and 1 h per cycle, the Co-PDA-C based ZnABs were able to steadily cycle up to 500 cycles with only a small increase in the discharge-charge voltage gap which notably outperformed Pt/C; at a discharge current density of 5 mA cm-2 , the battery continuously discharged for more than 540 h with the discharge voltage above 1 V and a voltage drop rate of merely 0.37 mV h-1 . With the simplicity and scalability of the synthetic approach and remarkable battery performances, the Co-PDA-C hybrid catalyst is anticipated to play an important role in practical ZnABs.

Citation Format(s)

Mussel-inspired one-pot synthesis of transition metal and nitrogen co-doped carbon (M/N-C) as efficient oxygen catalysts for Zn-air batteries. / Li, Bing; Chen, Ye; Ge, Xiaoming; Chai, Jianwei; Zhang, Xiao; Hor, T. S. Andy; Du, Guojun; Liu, Zhaolin; Zhang, Hua; Zong, Yun.

In: Nanoscale, Vol. 8, No. 9, 07.03.2016, p. 5067-5075.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review