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Rules of Boron–Nitrogen Doping in Defect Graphene Sheets: A First-Principles Investigation of Band-Gap Tuning and Oxygen Reduction Reaction Catalysis Capabilities

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Abstract

Introduction of defects and nitrogen doping are two of the most pursued methods to tailor the properties of graphene for better suitability to applications such as catalysis and energy conversion. Doping nitrogen atoms at defect sites of graphene and codoping them along with boron atoms can further increase the efficiency of such systems due to better stability of nitrogen at defect sites and stabilization provided by B[BOND]N bonding. Systematic exploration of the possible doping/codoping configurations reflecting defect regions of graphene presents a prevalent doping site for nitrogen-rich BN clusters and they are also highly suitable for modulating (0.2–0.9 eV) the band gap of defect graphene. Such codoped systems perform significantly better than the platinum surface, undoped defect graphene, and the single nitrogen or boron atom doped defect graphene system for dioxygen adsorption. Significant stretching of the O[BOND]O bond indicates a lowering of the bond breakage barrier, which is advantageous for applications in the oxygen reduction reaction.

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