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Insight into the Origin of the Positive Effects of Imidazolium Salt on Electrocatalytic Activity: Ionic Carbon Nanotubes as Metal-Free Electrocatalysts for Oxygen Reduction Reaction

Authors

  • Youn Soo Kim,

    1. Department of Chemistry and Nano Science (BK21), Ewha Womans University, 120-750 Seoul (Korea), Fax: (+82) 2-3277-3419
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  • Ju Yeon Shin,

    1. Department of Chemistry and Nano Science (BK21), Ewha Womans University, 120-750 Seoul (Korea), Fax: (+82) 2-3277-3419
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  • Hyun Ji Jeon,

    1. Department of Chemistry and Nano Science (BK21), Ewha Womans University, 120-750 Seoul (Korea), Fax: (+82) 2-3277-3419
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  • Areum Cha,

    1. Department of Chemistry and Nano Science (BK21), Ewha Womans University, 120-750 Seoul (Korea), Fax: (+82) 2-3277-3419
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  • Prof. Dr. Chongmok Lee,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemistry and Nano Science (BK21), Ewha Womans University, 120-750 Seoul (Korea), Fax: (+82) 2-3277-3419
    • Department of Chemistry and Nano Science (BK21), Ewha Womans University, 120-750 Seoul (Korea), Fax: (+82) 2-3277-3419

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  • Prof. Dr. Sang-gi Lee

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemistry and Nano Science (BK21), Ewha Womans University, 120-750 Seoul (Korea), Fax: (+82) 2-3277-3419
    • Department of Chemistry and Nano Science (BK21), Ewha Womans University, 120-750 Seoul (Korea), Fax: (+82) 2-3277-3419

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Abstract

We report remarkable metal-free electrocatalytic activities of the imidazolium salt-functionalized ionic multi-walled carbon nanotubes (IM-f-MWCNTs) in the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). The electrocatalytic activity can be attributed to the induced polarization of the π-electrons of CNTs, thus accelerating interfacial electron transfer. The zwitterionic MWCNTs functionalized with poly(vinylimidazolium sulfonate) have a more positive surface charge and exhibit a better electrocatalytic activity than the poly(vinylbutylimidazolium chloride)-functionalized MWCNTs. The IM-f-MWCNTs showed better fuel selectivity than the commercial Pt/C electrocatalyst.

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