14. Janus electrode with simultaneous management on gas and liquid transport for boosting oxygen reduction reaction

Li, Y., Zhang, H., Han, N., Kuang, Y., Liu, J., Liu, W.*, Duan, H.*, Sun, X.*
Nano Res. 2018, 12, 177-182.
DOI: 10.1007/s12274-018-2199-1

Oxygen reduction efficiency holds the key for renewable energy technologies including fuel cells and metal-air batteries, which involves coupling diffusion-reaction-conduction processes at the interface of catalyst/electrolyte, and thus rational electrode design facilitating mass transportation stands as a key issue for fast oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). Herein, we report a Janus electrode with asymmetric wettability prepared by partly modifying aerophobic nitrogen doped carbon nanotube arrays with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) as a high performance catalytic electrode for ORR. The Janus electrode with opposite wettability on adjacent sides maintains stable gas reservoir in the aerophilic side while shortening O2 pathway to catalysts in the aerophobic side, resulting in superior ORR performance (22.5 mA/cm2 @ 0.5 V) than merely aerophilic or aerophilic electrodes. The Janus electrode endows catalytic performance even comparable to commercial Pt/C in the alkaline electrolyte, exploiting a previously unrecognized opportunity that guides electrode design for the gas-consumption electrocatalysis.