Edge-Selectively Functionalized Graphene Nanoplatelets and Their Efficiency as a Catalyst for Oxygen Reduction
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Fuel cell research is an exciting and rapidly developing field. Currently, fuel cells are far too expensive to have practicality for everyday usage. In this article, edgeselectively functionalized graphene nanoplatelets (EFGnPs) were prepared using a simple ball milling process to determine their use as an oxygen reduction catalyst. Graphite sheets were ball milled in the presence of various functional groups to form four different types of EFGnPs. The four types were hydrogen (HGnP), carboxylic acid (CGnP), sulfonic acid (SGnP), and carboxylic/sulfonic acid (CSGnP). Cyclic voltammetry and rotating disk electrodes were used to study the behavior and efficiency of the EFGnP catalysts in an oxygen reduction reaction. It was found that the SGnP was the most effective EFGnP in reducing oxygen. Moreover, the SGnP had comparable catalytic efficiency to the traditional platinum-based catalyst as well as higher cycle stability due to its polarity, making it a possible alternative to the expensive Pt catalyst. If the catalysts were less expensive, the overall cost of fuel cells would decline dramatically, making them viable, practical, and environmentally friendly options for energy production.