A new class of core-corona structured bifunctional catalyst (CCBC) consisting of lanthanum nickelate centers supporting nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes (NCNT) has been developed for rechargeable metal-air battery application. The nanostructured design of the catalyst allows the core and corona to catalyze the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) and oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), respectively. These materials displayed exemplary OER and ORR activity through half-cell testing, comparable to state of the art commercial lanthanum nickelate (LaNiO(3)) and carbon-supported platinum (Pt/C), with added bifunctional capabilities allowing metal-air battery rechargeability. LaNiO(3) and Pt/C are currently the most accepted benchmark electrocatalyst materials for the OER and ORR, respectively; thus with comparable activity toward both of these reactions, CCBC are presented as a novel, inexpensive catalyst component for the cathode of rechargeable metal-air batteries. Moreover, after full-range degradation testing (FDT) CCBC retained excellent activity, retaining 3 and 13 times greater ORR and OER current upon comparison to state of the art Pt/C. Zinc-air battery performances of CCBC is in good agreement with the half-cell experiments with this bifunctional electrocatalyst displaying high activity and stability during battery discharge, charge, and cycling processes. Owing to its outstanding performance toward both the OER and ORR, comparable with the highest performing commercial catalysts to date for each of the respective reaction, coupled with high stability and rechargeability, CCBC is presented as a novel class of bifunctional catalyst material that is very applicable to future generation rechargeable metal-air batteries.
© 2012 American Chemical Society