Mesoporous Single-Atom-Doped Graphene-Carbon Nanotube Hybrid: Synthesis and Tunable Electrocatalytic Activity for Oxygen Evolution and Reduction Reactions

Mohammad Tavakkoli*, Emmanuel Flahaut, Pekka Peljo, Jani Sainio, Fatemeh Davodi, Egor V. Lobiak, Kimmo Mustonen, Esko I. Kauppinen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Mesoporous heteroatom-doped carbon-based nanomaterials are very promising as catalysts for electrochemical energy conversion and storage. We have developed a one-step catalytic chemical vapor deposition method to grow a highly graphitized graphene nanoflake (GF)-carbon nanotube (CNT) hybrid material doped simultaneously with single atoms of N, Co, and Mo (N-Co-Mo-GF/CNT). This high-surface-area material has a mesoporous structure, which facilitates oxygen mass transfer within the catalyst film, and exhibits a high electrocatalytic activity and stability in oxygen reduction and evolution reactions (ORR and OER) in alkaline media. We have shown that in this metal (M)-N-C catalyst, M (Co, Mo)-C centers are the main sites responsible for OER, while, for ORR, both M and N-C centers synergistically serve as the active sites. We systematically investigated tuning of the ORR and OER activity of the porous catalyst depending on the choice of the underlying substrate. The ORR kinetic current and OER activity for N-Co-Mo-GF/CNT were significantly enhanced when the catalyst was deposited onto a Ni substrate, resulting in an advanced electrocatalytic performance compared to the best bifunctional ORR/OER catalysts reported so far. Using a developed scanning electrochemical microscopy analysis method, we demonstrated that the higher OER reactivity on Ni was attributable to the formation of underlying catalyst/Ni interfacial sites, which are accessible due to the porous, electrolyte-permeable structure of the catalyst.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4647-4658
Number of pages12
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number8
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • graphene-carbon nanotube hybrid
  • heteroatom doping
  • mesoporous electrocatalyst
  • oxygen reduction/evolution reaction
  • scanning electrochemical microscopy
  • single-atom electrocatalysis
  • substrate effect

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  • Projects

    ANCED: Advanced Nanocatalysts for Electrochemical Energy Devices

    Tavakkoli, M.


    Project: Academy of Finland: Other research funding

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    New material developed could help clean energy revolution

    Esko Kauppinen, Pekka Peljo & Mohammad Tavakkoli


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