Defect Engineering of Chalcogen-Tailored Oxygen Electrocatalysts for Rechargeable Quasi-Solid-State Zinc–Air Batteries

Jing Fu, Fathy M. Hassan, Cheng Zhong, Jun Lu, Han Liu, Aiping Yu, Zhongwei Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

177 Citations (Scopus)


A critical bottleneck limiting the performance of rechargeable zinc–air batteries lies in the inefficient bifunctional electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction and evolution reactions at the air electrodes. Hybridizing transition-metal oxides with functional graphene materials has shown great advantages due to their catalytic synergism. However, both the mediocre catalytic activity of metal oxides and the restricted 2D mass/charge transfer of graphene render these hybrid catalysts inefficient. Here, an effective strategy combining anion substitution, defect engineering, and the dopant effect to address the above two critical issues is shown. This strategy is demonstrated on a hybrid catalyst consisting of sulfur-deficient cobalt oxysulfide single crystals and nitrogen-doped graphene nanomeshes (CoO0.87S0.13/GN). The defect chemistries of both oxygen-vacancy-rich, nonstoichiometric cobalt oxysulfides and edge-nitrogen-rich graphene nanomeshes lead to a remarkable improvement in electrocatalytic performance, where CoO0.87S0.13/GN exhibits strongly comparable catalytic activity to and much better stability than the best-known benchmark noble-metal catalysts. In application to quasi-solid-state zinc–air batteries, CoO0.87S0.13/GN as a freestanding catalyst assembly benefits from both structural integrity and enhanced charge transfer to achieve efficient and very stable cycling operation over 300 cycles with a low discharge–charge voltage gap of 0.77 V at 20 mA cm−2 under ambient conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1702526
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - Sept 20 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • bifunctional electrocatalysts
  • graphene nanomeshes
  • oxygen evolution reaction
  • oxygen reduction reaction
  • zinc–air batteries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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