Hydrothermally driven transformation of oxygen functional groups at multiwall carbon nanotubes for improved electrocatalytic applications

Bryan H R Suryanto, Sheng Chen, Jingjing Duan, Chuan Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The role of carbon nanotubes in the advancement of energy conversion and storage technologies is undeniable. In particular, carbon nanotubes have attracted significant applications for electrocatalysis. However, one central issue related to the use of carbon nanotubes is the required oxidative pretreatment that often leads to significant damage of graphitic structures which deteriorates their electrochemical properties. Traditionally, the oxidized carbon nanomaterials are treated at high temperature under an inert atmosphere to repair the oxidation-induced defect sites, which simultaneously removes a significant number of oxygen functional groups. Nevertheless, recent studies have shown that oxygen functional groups on the surface of MWCNT are the essential active centers for a number of important electrocatalytic reactions such as hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), oxygen evolution reaction (OER), and oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). Herein we first show that hydrothermal treatment as a mild method to improve the electrochemical properties and activities of surface-oxidized MWCNT for OER, HER, and ORR without significantly altering the oxygen content. The results indicate that hydrothermal treatment could potentially repair the defects without significantly reducing the pre-existing oxygen content, which has never been achieved before with conventional high-temperature annealing treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35513-35522
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number51
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • carbon
  • carbon nanotubes
  • electrochemistry
  • hydrogen evolution reaction
  • hydrothermal
  • oxygen evolution reaction
  • oxygen reduction reaction
  • water splitting

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