N-Doping of plasma exfoliated graphene oxide via dielectric barrier discharge plasma treatment for the oxygen reduction reaction
Nitrogen doped plasma exfoliated graphene oxide (N-PEGO) was obtained by fast and effective dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma technology. The plasma treatment could provide a burst open and high-energy electron/ion collision mechanism for doping and exfoliation. Ammonium carbonate was previously inserted into the interlayer of GO powder, and the rapid release of the NH3 and CO2 gases during DBD plasma treatment could exfoliate the GO powder into few-layer PEGO (<4 layers). Moreover, the plasma treatment also introduced the nitrogen dopant (5.26 at%), which is proven to be an efficient strategy to enhance the performance of oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) electrocatalysts. The resulting N-PEGO showed a high onset potential comparable to that of commercial Pt/C, i.e., 0.89 V vs. reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE) and good electrocatalysis stability towards the ORR. This fast and effective one-step doping and exfoliation strategy demonstrated a new industrial-scale N-doped graphene fabrication technique.