Fluorine-doped carbon nanoparticles (FCNPs) were synthesized via a simple one-step solution plasma process for the first time. This synthesis strategy can be achieved at relatively low temperature and atmospheric pressure without the involvement of a metal catalyst. A mixture of toluene (C<inf>6</inf>H<inf>5</inf>CH<inf>3</inf>) and trifluorotoluene (C<inf>6</inf>H<inf>5</inf>CF<inf>3</inf>) was used as a precursor for the synthesis. The fluorine doping content can be varied from 0.95 to 4.52 at%, depending on the precursor mixing ratio. The structural analyses reveal that FCNPs mainly exhibit a disordered amorphous structure. The incorporation of fluorine atoms results in the creation of more defect sites and disordered structure in the carbon particles. The electrocatalytic activity toward the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) of FCNPs in an alkaline solution shows a significant improvement with increasing fluorine doping content, as reflected in an increased limiting current density and a positively shifted onset potential. In association with X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis, an improved ORR activity is possibly attributed to the intercalation of ionic C-F and semi-ionic C-F bonds in the carbon structure. In addition, FCNPs possess excellent long-term operation durability and strong tolerance to methanol oxidation compared to those of a commercial Pt-based catalyst. Our results from this study not only confirm the applicability of the solution plasma process to the synthesis of FCNPs with a controllable fluorine doping level but also provide detailed information of FCNPs as potential alternative ORR catalysts for the electrocatalysis research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Materials Science(all)