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Surface Microenvironment Optimization Induced Robust Oxygen Reduction for Neutral Zinc-Air Batteries
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  • Si Liu,
  • Han Cheng,
  • Jun Xia,
  • Chun Wang,
  • Renjie Gui,
  • Tianpei Zhou,
  • Hongfei Liu,
  • Jing Peng,
  • Nan Zhang,
  • Wenjie Wang,
  • Wangsheng Chu,
  • Hengan Wu,
  • Changzheng Wu,
  • Yi Xie
Si Liu
University of Science and Technology of China
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Han Cheng
University of Science and Technology of China
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Jun Xia
University of Science and Technology of China
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Chun Wang
University of Science and Technology of China
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Renjie Gui
University of Science and Technology of China
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Tianpei Zhou
University of Science and Technology of China
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Hongfei Liu
University of Science and Technology of China
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Jing Peng
University of Science and Technology of China
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Nan Zhang
University of Science and Technology of China
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Wenjie Wang
University of Science and Technology of China
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Wangsheng Chu
University of Science and Technology of China
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Hengan Wu
University of Science and Technology of China
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Changzheng Wu
University of Science and Technology of China
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Yi Xie
University of Science and Technology of China
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Abstract

Neutral zinc-air batteries (ZABs) are promising candidates for the next-generation power devices with considerably elongated lifetime comparing to conventional alkaline ZABs. However, neutral cathodic oxygen reduction reaction is seriously limited by the mass transfer efficiency of hydroxyl due to insufficient interfacial chemical potential-gradient between catalytic layer and electrolyte. Herein, we highlight that electrochemical oxidation induced surface microenvironment optimization could realize optimal chemical potential-gradient around catalytic sites and bring outstanding neutral ORR activity. The electro-deposited sub-nano Pt decorated surface-microenvironment-optimized Co2N samples (denoted as Pt-SMO-Co2N NWs) possessed 92 mV and 365 mV lower overpotential than commercial Pt/C and pristine Co2N in 0.2 M PBS. As for neutral ZABs, Pt-SMO-Co2N NWs cathode delivers a power density of 67.9 mW*cm−2 and displays negligible decay after nearly 80 hours stability test at 20 mA*cm-2. In depth characterization proposes that remarkable performance improvement originates from optimized microenvironment which increases the surface chemical potential gradient and facilitates proton coupled electron transfer during ORR. We anticipated that such synergetic optimization of microenvironment and intrinsic activity of active sites is an effective strategy which may be extended the catalytic reactions beyond ORR.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

07 Feb 2021Submitted to Natural Sciences
09 Feb 2021Submission Checks Completed
09 Feb 2021Assigned to Editor
10 Feb 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
22 Apr 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
23 Apr 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Major
18 Jun 20211st Revision Received
22 Jun 2021Assigned to Editor
22 Jun 2021Submission Checks Completed