Electrocatalytic activity of various types of h-BN for the oxygen reduction reaction
The electrocatalytic activities of various types of h-BN, i.e., spin coated BN nanotubes (BNNTs) and BN nanosheets (BNNSs) and sputter deposited BN, on Au electrodes as well as those of BNNS modified glassy carbon (GC) and Pt electrodes for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) were examined in O2 saturated 0.5 M H2SO4 solution based on the theoretical prediction that monolayered BN on a metal substrate may act as an electrocatalyst for ORR even though bulk BN is an insulator with a wide band gap. The overpotential for ORR at Au electrodes was reduced by ca. 100, ca. 270, and ca. 150 mV by spin coating of the dispersion of BNNT and liquid exfoliated BNNS, and sputter deposition of BN, respectively, proving the theoretical prediction. On the other hand, no change in the overpotential was observed at the glassy carbon electrode with BNNS modification and the overpotential even increased at the Pt electrode, suggesting that the interaction between BN and Au plays an important role in BN becoming ORR active.