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Nat Commun. 2013;4:1922. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2944.

Active and stable carbon nanotube/nanoparticle composite electrocatalyst for oxygen reduction.

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1
Materials Physics and Applications Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, USA.

Abstract

Nanostructured carbon-based materials, such as nitrogen-doped carbon nanotube arrays, Co3O4/nitrogen-doped graphene hybrids and carbon nanotube-graphene complexes have shown respectable oxygen reduction reaction activity in alkaline media. Although certainly promising, the performance of these materials does not yet warrant implementation in the energy conversion/storage devices utilizing basic electrolytes, for example, alkaline fuel cells, metal-air batteries and certain electrolysers. Here we demonstrate a new type of nitrogen-doped carbon nanotube/nanoparticle composite oxygen reduction reaction electrocatalyst obtained from iron acetate as an iron precursor and from cyanamide as a nitrogen and carbon nanotube precursor in a simple, scalable and single-step method. The composite has the highest oxygen reduction reaction activity in alkaline media of any non-precious metal catalysts. When used at a sufficiently high loading, this catalyst also outperforms the most active platinum-based catalysts.

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