We present a novel approach to direct fabrication of few-layer graphene sheets with encapsulated Fe3C nanoparticles from pyrolysis of volatile non-graphitic precursors without any substrate. This one-step autoclave approach is facile and potentially scalable for production. Tested as an electrocatalyst, the graphene-based composite exhibited excellent catalytic activity towards the oxygen reduction reaction in alkaline solution with an onset potential of ca. 1.05 V (vs. the reversible hydrogen electrode) and a half-wave potential of 0.83 V, which is comparable to the commercial Pt/C catalyst.
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