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Two-step boron and nitrogen doping in graphene for enhanced synergistic catalysis.

Angewandte Chemie (International Ed. in English)

Wiley

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      A metal-free polymeric photocatalyst for hydrogen production from water under visible light.

      The production of hydrogen from water using a catalyst and solar energy is an ideal future energy source, independent of fossil reserves. For an economical use of water and solar energy, catalysts that are sufficiently efficient, stable, inexpensive and capable of harvesting light are required. Here, we show that an abundant material, polymeric carbon nitride, can produce hydrogen from water under visible-light irradiation in the presence of a sacrificial donor. Contrary to other conducting polymer semiconductors, carbon nitride is chemically and thermally stable and does not rely on complicated device manufacturing. The results represent an important first step towards photosynthesis in general where artificial conjugated polymer semiconductors can be used as energy transducers.
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        Nitrogen-doped carbon nanotube arrays with high electrocatalytic activity for oxygen reduction.

        The large-scale practical application of fuel cells will be difficult to realize if the expensive platinum-based electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reactions (ORRs) cannot be replaced by other efficient, low-cost, and stable electrodes. Here, we report that vertically aligned nitrogen-containing carbon nanotubes (VA-NCNTs) can act as a metal-free electrode with a much better electrocatalytic activity, long-term operation stability, and tolerance to crossover effect than platinum for oxygen reduction in alkaline fuel cells. In air-saturated 0.1 molar potassium hydroxide, we observed a steady-state output potential of -80 millivolts and a current density of 4.1 milliamps per square centimeter at -0.22 volts, compared with -85 millivolts and 1.1 milliamps per square centimeter at -0.20 volts for a platinum-carbon electrode. The incorporation of electron-accepting nitrogen atoms in the conjugated nanotube carbon plane appears to impart a relatively high positive charge density on adjacent carbon atoms. This effect, coupled with aligning the NCNTs, provides a four-electron pathway for the ORR on VA-NCNTs with a superb performance.
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          Nitrogen-doped graphene as efficient metal-free electrocatalyst for oxygen reduction in fuel cells.

          Nitrogen-doped graphene (N-graphene) was synthesized by chemical vapor deposition of methane in the presence of ammonia. The resultant N-graphene was demonstrated to act as a metal-free electrode with a much better electrocatalytic activity, long-term operation stability, and tolerance to crossover effect than platinum for oxygen reduction via a four-electron pathway in alkaline fuel cells. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the use of graphene and its derivatives as metal-free catalysts for oxygen reduction. The important role of N-doping to oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) can be applied to various carbon materials for the development of other metal-free efficient ORR catalysts for fuel cell applications, even new catalytic materials for applications beyond fuel cells.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            10.1002/anie.201209548
            23341193

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