Journal of Applied Electrochemistry

, Volume 49, Issue 12, pp 1211–1226 | Cite as

Fishnet-like Ni–Fe–N co-modified graphene aerogel catalyst for highly efficient oxygen reduction reaction in an alkaline medium

  • Jiafeng Liang
  • Yunhan LingEmail author
  • Xiu-wen WuEmail author
  • Heloisa Andrea Acciari
  • Zhengjun Zhang
Research Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Fuel cells


The bimetallic nanoparticles of Ni and Fe co-modified reduced graphene oxide (rGO) aerogel were prepared by a fishnet-like one-step hydrothermal method, and the nitrogen atoms were successfully doped to the carbon layers with heat treatment of ammonia. By SEM and TEM, it could be observed that the rGO aerogel is a porous structure with particles of metal uniformly distributed on carbon sheets, and the sizes of nanoparticles were approximately 20–100 nm. The Raman results indicated that the GO was successfully reduced by ethylene glycol in the hydrothermal process. XPS results showed that nitrogen was introduced to rGO nanosheets, and Ni–Fe–NrGO possessed the higher contents of pyridinic N and graphitic N. XRD results suggested the Ni3Fe phase exists in the Ni–Fe–NrGO, which was consistent with EDX results. The electro-catalyzed oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) properties were evaluated by a rotating disk electrode (RDE). The Ni–Fe–NrGO sample showed synergistic effect with a relatively higher onset potential and diffusion-limiting current density of approximately 4.01 mA cm−2, with an electron transfer number close to 4, and exhibited an excellent ORR performance compared with the commercial Pt/C electro-catalyst.

Graphic abstract


Graphene aerogel Nitrogen doped Synergistic effect Oxygen reduction reaction 



This work was partially supported by International cooperation on scientific and technological innovation between China and Italy governments (2016YFE0104000), the Science Challenge Project (No. tz2016004), the Fundamental Research Funds for Central Universities (No. 2652017157), the National Nature Science Foundation of China (No. 51771098), and National Energy Novel Materials Center China Academy of Engineering Physics (No. NENMCelle1703).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Key Laboratory of Advanced Materials, School of Materials Sciences and Engineering, Collaborative Innovation Center of Advanced Nuclear Energy TechnologyTsinghua UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Beijing Institute of Aeronautical MaterialsBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Beijing Institute of Graphene TechnologyBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.School of ScienceChina University of GeosciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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