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Nitrogen-Doped Graphene on Transition Metal Substrates as Efficient Bifunctional Catalysts for Oxygen Reduction and Oxygen Evolution Reactions

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journal contribution
posted on 16.06.2017, 00:00 by Si Zhou, Nanshu Liu, Zhiyu Wang, Jijun Zhao
Composites of transition metal and carbon-based materials are promising bifunctional catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER), and are widely used in rechargeable metal–air batteries. However, the mechanism of their enhanced bicatalytic activities remains elusive. Herein, we construct N-doped graphene supported by Co(111) and Fe(110) substrates as bifunctional catalysts for ORR and OER in alkaline media. First-principles calculations show that these heterostructures possess a large number of active sites for ORR and OER with overpotentials comparable to those of noble metal benchmark catalysts. The catalytic activity is modulated by the coupling strength between graphene and the metal substrates, as well as the charge distribution in the graphitic sheet, which is delicately mediated by N dopants. These theoretical results uncover the key parameters that govern the bicatalytic properties of hybrid materials and help prescribe the principles for designing multifunctional electrocatalysts of high performance.