Insights on boosting oxygen evolution reaction performance via boron incorporation into nitrogen-doped carbon electrocatalysts

Oi Lun Li, Nguyet N.T. Pham, Jihun Kim, Heechae Choi, Dae Hoon Lee, Yang Yang, Wenhui Yao*, Young Rae Cho, Seung Geol Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The exploration of high-efficiency electrocatalysts for water splitting is significant for large-scale hydrogen production. Herein, boron atoms were incorporated into nitrogen-doped carbon as electrocatalyst through a one-step plasma synthesis route. The obtained B,N-codoped catalyst presented superior electrocatalytic performance, with an onset potential of 1.46 V vs RHE and corresponding overpotentials of 270 mV and 509 mV at current densities of 10 and 100 mA cm−2, which were significantly lower than that of N-doped carbon (1.56 V vs RHE, 331 mV and 554 mV), and even outperformed the commercial 5 wt% Ru/C (1.48 V vs RHE, 275 mV and 547 mV). Moreover, it exhibited higher stability than Ru/C in 9-h durability test and remained relatively high OER catalytic activities. Density functional theory has verified the OH molecule was firstly adsorbed on the top side of B atom in the B,N-codoped carbon. The OH* chemisorption energy on B,N-codoped carbon was less than that on N-doped carbon catalyst system by 0.281 eV, which translated into a higher kinetic OER activity of B,N-codoped carbon. Combined with the electrochemical performance, boron as OER active sites in B,N-codoped carbon should be considered as a valid strategy to boost the performance of heteroatom-doped carbon OER electrocatalysts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number146979
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Boron-Nitrogen codoped carbon
  • Density functional theory
  • Heteroatom-doped carbon
  • Highly stable electrocatalyst
  • Oxygen evolution reaction


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