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A metal–organic framework-derived bifunctional oxygen electrocatalyst

Abstract

Oxygen electrocatalysis is of great importance for many energy storage and conversion technologies, including fuel cells, metal–air batteries and water electrolysis. Replacing noble metal-based electrocatalysts with highly efficient and inexpensive non-noble metal-based oxygen electrocatalysts is critical for the practical applications of these technologies. Here we report a general approach for the synthesis of hollow frameworks of nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes derived from metal–organic frameworks, which exhibit higher electrocatalytic activity and stability for oxygen reduction and evolution than commercial Pt/C electrocatalysts. The remarkable electrochemical properties are mainly attributed to the synergistic effect from chemical compositions and the robust hollow structure composed of interconnected crystalline nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes. The presented strategy for controlled design and synthesis of metal–organic framework-derived functional nanomaterials offers prospects in developing highly active electrocatalysts in electrochemical energy devices.

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Figure 1: Morphology and structural characterization of NCNTFs obtained at 700 C in the presence of H2.
Figure 2: Compositional and structural information of NCNTFs obtained at 700 C.
Figure 3: Morphology and structural characterization of ZIF-derived composites.
Figure 4: Morphology and structural characterization of different ZIF-derived NCNTFs.
Figure 5: Electrochemical oxygen reduction on NCNTFs obtained at 700 C.
Figure 6: Electrochemical methanol tolerance and durability of NCNTFs obtained at 700 C.
Figure 7: Electrochemical oxygen evolution on NCNTFs.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge financial support from the academic research fund AcRF Tier 1 (M4011253, RG 7/14) and Tier 2 (M4020246, ARC10/15) Ministry of Education, Singapore. This project is also funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF), Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore under its Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) programme.

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B.Y.X., X.W.L. and X.W. conceived the project and co-wrote the manuscript. B.Y.X. carried out the synthesis. B.Y.X., Y.Y., N.L. and H.B.W. conducted the materials characterization and the electrochemical evaluation. B.Y.X. and Y.Y. contributed equally to this work. All authors read and commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Xiong Wen (David) Lou or Xin Wang.

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Xia, B., Yan, Y., Li, N. et al. A metal–organic framework-derived bifunctional oxygen electrocatalyst. Nat Energy 1, 15006 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nenergy.2015.6

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