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Issue 42, 2016
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A catalyst-free synthesis of B, N co-doped graphene nanostructures with tunable dimensions as highly efficient metal free dual electrocatalysts

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Abstract

The search for highly efficient earth-abundant carbon nanomaterials with Pt-like electrocatalytic activity for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) is still a great challenge. Herein, we present a new catalyst-free synthetic strategy of self-squeezing and rolling of B, N co-doped graphene nanosheets to nanotubes with tunable dimensions and atomic bonds as metal-free electrocatalysts for enhancing the ORR and HER using (polyethylene glycol (PEG)) as the directing agent. We found that the PEG with a higher molecular weight favors the formation of B, N co-doped graphene nanosheets with a high concentration of B–N bonds in a carbon framework whereas the one with a lower molecular weight leads to B, N co-doped graphene nanotubes (BCN nanotubes) with segregated B–C and N–C bonds. The as-prepared graphene nanostructures show interesting atomic bonds and dimension-dependent electrocatalytic activity towards the ORR and HER with BCN nanotubes being the best. The BCN nanotubes show Pt-like ORR activity and much better ORR stability than commercial Pt/C catalysts. They also exhibit excellent HER activity with a very low overpotential and a small Tafel slope of 92 mV dec−1. The present work highlights the importance of tuning atomic bonds and dimensions of carbon nanomaterials for achieving highly efficient electrocatalysts for the ORR and HER.

Graphical abstract: A catalyst-free synthesis of B, N co-doped graphene nanostructures with tunable dimensions as highly efficient metal free dual electrocatalysts

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Publication details

The article was received on 22 Aug 2016, accepted on 19 Sep 2016 and first published on 19 Sep 2016


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6TA07214C
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2016,4, 16469-16475
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    A catalyst-free synthesis of B, N co-doped graphene nanostructures with tunable dimensions as highly efficient metal free dual electrocatalysts

    H. Tabassum, R. Zou, A. Mahmood, Z. Liang and S. Guo, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2016, 4, 16469
    DOI: 10.1039/C6TA07214C

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