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Issue 19, 2018
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C–O–K+ (Na+) groups in non-doped carbon as active sites for the oxygen reduction reaction

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Abstract

Carbon-based materials exhibit high electrocatalytic activity for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), which is an essential step for several renewable and clean energy systems. To make them alternatives to Pt-based catalysts for the ORR, a deep understanding on the ORR active sites on the carbon surface is needed but remains a major challenge. In nitrogen (N)-doped carbons, the carbon atoms next to pyridinic N are suggested to be the active sites for the ORR. Here we show that non-doped carbon materials (from carbon dots by annealing treatment at 1000 °C) create surface defects by removing the carbonate groups from the carbon surface under alkaline conditions (KOH/NaOH). Subsequently, the K+ (Na+) attached to the defects (e.g., hydroxyl group) to form the adjacent C–O–K+ (Na+) groups (C–O–K+ (Na+) pairs), which are suggested to be the real catalytic active sites for the ORR, similar to those of Pt catalysts.

Graphical abstract: C–O−–K+ (Na+) groups in non-doped carbon as active sites for the oxygen reduction reaction

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Publication details

The article was received on 16 Mar 2018, accepted on 14 Apr 2018 and first published on 16 Apr 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8TA02445F
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018,6, 8955-8961
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    C–O–K+ (Na+) groups in non-doped carbon as active sites for the oxygen reduction reaction

    Y. Zhou, Y. Sun, C. Zhu, Y. Liu, X. Dai, J. Zhong, Q. Chen, H. Tian, R. Zhou and Z. Kang, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018, 6, 8955
    DOI: 10.1039/C8TA02445F

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