Indexed on: 06 Jun '14Published on: 06 Jun '14Published in: Scientific Reports
B,N-codoped carbon nanostructures (BNCS) can serve as alternative low-cost metal-free electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reactions (ORR). However, the compensation effect between the p- (B atoms) and n-type (N atoms) dopants would make the covalent boron-nitride (BN) easily formed during the synthesis of BNCS, leading to a unsatisfactory ORR activity. Therefore, it has been challenging to develop facile and rapid synthetic strategies for highly active BNCS without forming the direct covalent BN. Here, a facile method is developed to prepare B and N isolate-doped graphitic nanosheets (BNGS) by using iron species for saving N element and simultaneous doping the B element from nitrogen-containing ion-exchanged resins (NR). The resulting BNGS exhibits much more onset potential (Eonset) compared with the B-doped graphitic carbon nanosheets (BGS), N-doped graphitic carbon nanosheets (NGS), as well as B,N-codoped disorder carbon (BNC). Moreover, the BNGS shows well methanol tolerance propery and excellent stability (a minimal loss of activity after 5,000 potential cycles) compared to that of commercial Pt/C catalyst. The goog performance for BNGS towards ORR is attributed to the synergistic effect between B and N, and the well electrons transport property of graphitic carbon in BNGS.