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Surfactant-exfoliated 2D hexagonal boron nitride (2D-hBN): role of surfactant upon the electrochemical reduction of oxygen and capacitance applications

Khan, AF and Down, MP and Smith, GC and Foster, CW and Banks, CE (2017) Surfactant-exfoliated 2D hexagonal boron nitride (2D-hBN): role of surfactant upon the electrochemical reduction of oxygen and capacitance applications. Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 5 (8). pp. 4103-4113. ISSN 2050-7488

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Abstract

Surfactant-exfoliated 2D hexagonal boron nitride (2D-hBN) nanosheets are fabricated using the surfactant sodium cholate in aqueous media and are explored towards the electrochemical reduction of oxygen (oxygen reduction reaction) within acidic media for the first time. Large quantifiable voltammetric signatures are observed at significantly reduced potentials compared to traditional graphitic-based electrodes indicating 2D-hBN's possible electrocatalytic activity towards the oxygen reduction reaction, therefore having the potential as a useful electrode platform within fuel cell technology. We also demonstrate, for the first time, that surfactant-exfoliated 2D-hBN is an effective electrochemical supercapacitor material with a specific capacitance value of up to 1745 F g -1 . A full analysis of the electrochemical properties of 2D-hBN is performed, including the application of a novel capacitive circuit applied to galvanostatic charge/discharge analysis, which provides an unambiguous analysis of the capacitance of the 2D-hBN. Furthermore, a diverse range of methods are introduced and utilised to calculate the specific capacitance, a substantially overlooked and misinterpreted parameter within the literature allowing standardisation in the academic literature to be achieved. In both examples, we demonstrate through control experiments in the form of surfactant modified graphite electrodes, sodium cholate is the major contributing factor to the aforementioned electrocatalytic and capacitive behaviour, which has yet to be reported. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2017

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