American Chemical Society
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Oxidative Deposition of Manganese Oxide Nanosheets on Nitrogen-Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes Applied in the Alkaline Oxygen Evolution Reaction

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-09-14, 17:35 authored by Hendrik Antoni, Dulce M. Morales, Qi Fu, Yen-Ting Chen, Justus Masa, Wolfgang Schuhmann, Martin Muhler
The development of nonprecious catalysts for water splitting into hydrogen and oxygen is one of the major challenges to meet future sustainable fuel demand. Herein, thin layers of manganese oxide nanosheets supported on nitrogen-functionalized carbon nanotubes (NCNTs) were formed by the treatment of NCNTs dispersed in aqueous solutions of KMnO4 or CsMnO4 under reflux or under hydrothermal (HT) conditions and used as electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in alkaline media. The samples were characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, and Raman spectroscopy. Our results show that the NCNTs treated under reflux were covered by partly amorphous and birnessite-type manganese oxides, while predominantly crystalline birnessite manganese oxide was observed for the hydrothermally treated samples. The latter showed, depending on the temperature during synthesis, an electrocatalytically favorable reduction from birnessite-type MnO2 to γ-MnOOH. OER activity measurements revealed a decrease of the overpotential for the OER at a current density of 10 mA cm–2 from 1.70 VRHE for the bare NCNTs to 1.64 VRHE for the samples treated under reflux in the presence of KMnO4. The hydrothermally treated samples afforded the same current density at a lower potential of 1.60 VRHE and a Tafel slope of 75 mV dec–1, suggesting that the higher OER activity is due to γ-MnOOH formation. Oxidative deposition under reflux conditions using CsMnO4 along with mild HT treatment using KMnO4, and low manganese loadings in both cases, were identified as the most suitable synthetic routes to obtain highly active MnOx/NCNT catalysts for electrochemical water oxidation.