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3D porous graphene aerogel-supported Ni/MnO bifunctional catalyst

Recently, a research team led by Professor Yawen Tang from the School of Chemistry and Materials Science of Nanjing Normal University successfully prepared a 3D porous graphene aerogel-supported Ni/MnO bifunctional catalyst. The results were entitled “Boosting Bifunctional Oxygen Electrocatalysis with 3D Graphene Aerogel-Supported Ni/MnO Particles” and published in
Advanced Materialsonline, which is the top journal in the Materials Science and Chemistry fields with an Impact Factor of 19.791 in 2017. The first author of this research paper is Dr. Gengtao Fu from the NNU School of Chemistry and Material Science.

The Rechargeable Zn–air battery is being considered as a promising candidate to meet future energy demands due to its high theoretical energy density, lowcost, and great safety. It is imperative to develop cost-effective and robust bifunctional oxygen catalystsbased on transition metal elementsfor making the Zn–air battery more practically feasible. By forming a graphene oxide (GO) crosslinked poly (vinylalcohol) hydrogel, Professor Yawen Tang’s team successfully prepared a 3D porous grapheme aerogel-supported Ni/MnO (Ni–MnO/rGO aerogel) bifunctional catalyst for the first time. Electrochemical studies show that the MnO mainly contributes to the high activity for theoxygen-reduction reactions (ORR), while metallic Ni is responsible for the excellent oxygen-evolution reactions (OER) activity. They are more active than some metal-based materials, such as Pt/C, Ir/C, IrO2, and RuO2 in the catalytic process. Herein, Ni is combined with MnO species and a high-performance bifunctional catalyst for both ORR and OER is prepared.

3D porous rGO aerogels have a large surface area and high conductivity, which are favorable for the permeation and diffusion of liquid electrolyte and oxygen, as well as electron transfer during the ORR/OER. Moreover, the tiny particles dispersed evenly within 3D porous rGO networks not only make the maximum active sites of catalysts, but can alsoeffectively restrain catalyst particles’ aggregation, detachment, and Ostwald ripening, thereby enhancing electrocatalytic stability.
The Ni–MnO/rGO-driven Zn–air battery delivers similar recharge–discharge behaviors to the highperformance Pt/C + RuO2 catalyst, suggesting its excellent rechargeability. The peak power density of Ni–MnO/rGO was calculated to be 123 mW cm−2, which exceeds thatof the Pt/C + RuO2-driven battery. The specific capacity was measured according to the consumption ofZn. At 5 mA cm−2, the Ni–MnO/rGO enabled the Zn–air battery with a specific capacity of 758 mA h gZn−1.

Dr. Gengtao Fu got his master’s and PhD degrees from NNU and began his postdoctoral work at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore in 2017. During his studies at NNU, Dr. Gengtao Fu published 35 SCI papers including 29 SCI-TOP papers as first author or co-first author. The total IF of his papers is 280.

Their work was jointly supported by the Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Novel Power Battery, Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center of Biomedical Functional Materials, National-Local Joint Engineering Research Center for Biomedical Functional Materials, National Natural Science Foundation of China, Jiangsu Natural Science Foundation, Jiangsu Dominant Discipline Construction Project, Natural Science Foundation for Universities in Jiangsu Province and Science Research Innovation Project for Postgraduates of Jiangsu Province.