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Nat Commun. 2014 May 27;5:3949. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4949.

Spinel-type lithium cobalt oxide as a bifunctional electrocatalyst for the oxygen evolution and oxygen reduction reactions.

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Materials Science and Engineering Program, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.


Development of efficient, affordable electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction and the oxygen reduction reaction is critical for rechargeable metal-air batteries. Here we present lithium cobalt oxide, synthesized at 400 °C (designated as LT-LiCoO2) that adopts a lithiated spinel structure, as an inexpensive, efficient electrocatalyst for the oxygen evolution reaction. The catalytic activity of LT-LiCoO2 is higher than that of both spinel cobalt oxide and layered lithium cobalt oxide synthesized at 800 °C (designated as HT-LiCoO2) for the oxygen evolution reaction. Although LT-LiCoO2 exhibits poor activity for the oxygen reduction reaction, the chemically delithiated LT-Li1-xCoO2 samples exhibit a combination of high oxygen reduction reaction and oxygen evolution reaction activities, making the spinel-type LT-Li0,5CoO2 a potential bifunctional electrocatalyst for rechargeable metal-air batteries. The high activities of these delithiated compositions are attributed to the Co4O4 cubane subunits and a pinning of the Co(3+/4+):3d energy with the top of the O(2-):2p band.


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