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      Recent progress on nitrogen/carbon structures designed for use in energy and sustainability applications

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          Abstract

          Nitrogen modification of carbon structures is making a vast impact across the scientific community, specifically in the realms of energy and sustainability.

          Heteroatom modification represents one of the largest studied areas of research related to nanostructured carbon materials, with integrated applications stretching from energy production and storage to sustainability and medical uses. While a wide variety of dopants (boron, phosphorus, iodine, fluorine, etc.) have been studied, doping carbon structures with nitrogen ad-atoms has arguably experienced the greatest progress and brought the most attention over the last several years. Research in this field has conclusively demonstrated that nitrogen doping is an effective way to tailor the properties of carbon and tune the material for various applications of interest. This review provides a comprehensive overview of advances in the last half decade on state-of-the-art carbon modification with nitrogen heteroatoms. Improvements in well-established fabrication/modification processes are discussed as well as novel strategies. Additionally, recent theoretical and experimental findings related to the benefits and effects of nitrogen modification for specific applications in the energy and environmental fields are reviewed.

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          Most cited references 321

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          Is Open Access

          Electric Field Effect in Atomically Thin Carbon Films

          We report a naturally-occurring two-dimensional material (graphene that can be viewed as a gigantic flat fullerene molecule, describe its electronic properties and demonstrate all-metallic field-effect transistor, which uniquely exhibits ballistic transport at submicron distances even at room temperature.
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            Co3O4 Nanocrystals on Graphene as a Synergistic Catalyst for Oxygen Reduction Reaction

            Catalysts for oxygen reduction and evolution reactions are at the heart of key renewable energy technologies including fuel cells and water splitting. Despite tremendous efforts, developing oxygen electrode catalysts with high activity at low costs remains a grand challenge. Here, we report a hybrid material of Co3O4 nanocrystals grown on reduced graphene oxide (GO) as a high-performance bi-functional catalyst for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER). While Co3O4 or graphene oxide alone has little catalytic activity, their hybrid exhibits an unexpected, surprisingly high ORR activity that is further enhanced by nitrogen-doping of graphene. The Co3O4/N-doped graphene hybrid exhibits similar catalytic activity but superior stability to Pt in alkaline solutions. The same hybrid is also highly active for OER, making it a high performance non-precious metal based bi-catalyst for both ORR and OER. The unusual catalytic activity arises from synergetic chemical coupling effects between Co3O4 and graphene.
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              High-performance electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction derived from polyaniline, iron, and cobalt.

              The prohibitive cost of platinum for catalyzing the cathodic oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) has hampered the widespread use of polymer electrolyte fuel cells. We describe a family of non-precious metal catalysts that approach the performance of platinum-based systems at a cost sustainable for high-power fuel cell applications, possibly including automotive power. The approach uses polyaniline as a precursor to a carbon-nitrogen template for high-temperature synthesis of catalysts incorporating iron and cobalt. The most active materials in the group catalyze the ORR at potentials within ~60 millivolts of that delivered by state-of-the-art carbon-supported platinum, combining their high activity with remarkable performance stability for non-precious metal catalysts (700 hours at a fuel cell voltage of 0.4 volts) as well as excellent four-electron selectivity (hydrogen peroxide yield <1.0%).
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                EESNBY
                Energy Environ. Sci.
                Energy Environ. Sci.
                Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
                1754-5692
                1754-5706
                2014
                2014
                : 7
                : 4
                : 1212-1249
                Article
                10.1039/C3EE44078H
                © 2014
                Product
                Self URI (article page): http://xlink.rsc.org/?DOI=C3EE44078H

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