Aligned N-doped carbon nanotube bundles with interconnected hierarchical structure as an efficient bi-functional oxygen electrocatalyst†
The fabrication of cost effective and efficient electrocatalysts with functional building blocks to replace noble metal ones is of great importance for energy related applications yet remains a great challenge. Herein, we report the fabrication of a hierarchical structure containing CNTs/graphene/transition-metal hybrids (h-NCNTs/Gr/TM) with excellent bifunctional oxygen electrocatalytic activity. The synthesis was rationally designed by the growth of shorter nitrogen-doped CNTs (S-NCNTs) on longer NCNTs arrays (L-NCNTs), while graphene layers were in situ generated at their interconnecting sites. The hybrid material shows excellent OER and ORR performance, and was also demonstrated to be a highly active bifunctional catalyst for Zn–air batteries, which could be due to rapid electron transport and full exposure of active sites in the hierarchical structure.