Electrochemical behavior of nanostructured nickel phthalocyanine (NiPc/C) for oxygen reduction reaction in alkaline media
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Carbon-supported nickel phthalocyanine (NiPc/C) nanoparticle catalysts have been synthesized by a simple solvent-impregnation and milling procedure, then heat-treated at 600, 700, 800 and 900 °C to optimize their activity for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). The electrocatalytic activity and electron transfer mechanism of NiPc/C catalysts were demonstrated in oxygen-saturated alkaline electrolyte by cyclic voltammetry, linear sweep voltammetry as well as rotating disk electrode techniques, respectively. The results show that the heat-treatment temperature has a remarkable impact on the ORR activity of NiPc/C. An onset potential of 0.05 V and a half-wave potential of −0.15 V are achieved in 0.1 M KOH after the catalyst was heat-treated at 800 °C. In addition to an increase in ORR kinetics, the number of electrons transferred for ORR also increased from 2.2 to 2.8 with increasing heat-treatment temperature from 600 to 800 °C. To understand the heat-treatment effect, X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) were used to identify the catalyst structure and composition. From XPS analysis, pyridinic-N and graphitic-N were clearly observed after the sample was heat-treated at 800 °C. Both of these species might be assigned to sites catalytically active toward the ORR leading to activity enhancement.
KeywordsNickel phthalocyanine Oxygen reduction reaction Heat-treatment Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell
We give our thanks to the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21173039), Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education, SRFD (20110075110001), Environmental Protection Engineering Center for Pollution Treatment and Control in Textile Industry, China (20110927) and the Shanghai Leading Academic Discipline Project (B604) Fund.
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