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Nat Commun. 2013;4:2390. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3390.

Nitrogen-doped carbon nanomaterials as non-metal electrocatalysts for water oxidation.

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Department of Applied Chemistry, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan.


Efficient and low-cost electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction are essential components of renewable energy technologies, such as solar fuel synthesis and providing a hydrogen source for powering fuel cells. Here we report that the nitrogen-doped carbon materials function as the efficient oxygen evolution electrocatalysts. In alkaline media, the material generated a current density of 10 mA cm(-2) at the overpotential of 0.38 V, values that are comparable to those of iridium and cobalt oxide catalysts and are the best among the non-metal oxygen evolution electrocatalyst. The electrochemical and physical studies indicate that the high oxygen evolution activity of the nitrogen/carbon materials is from the pyridinic-nitrogen- or/and quaternary-nitrogen-related active sites. Our findings suggest that the non-metal catalysts will be a potential alternative to the use of transition metal-based oxygen evolution catalysts.


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