Researchers from the Nanomaterials and Energy Group at the University of Western Ontario have found that the performance of lithium oxygen batteries can be greatly increased by employing nitrogen doped graphene nanosheets (N-GNSs) as cathode materials [Y. Li, et al., Electrochem Commun doi: 10.1016/j.elecom.2012.01.023].

The team previously reported that graphene nanosheets (GNSs) were ideal cathode materials for lithium oxygen batteries, due to their unique physical and chemical properties [Y. Li, et al.Chem Comm 47 (2011) 9438]. However, the researchers have now found that the battery performance can be increased by 40 % simply by doping nitrogen into the GNSs.
The structurally defective sites and functional groups resulting from the nitrogen doping significantly contribute to the improved performance.
The researchers believe that the work will be important for the future development of carbon materials for lithium-oxygen batteries, as it can produce materials with both the required structure and high catalytic activity necessary for achieving high power capacity.
Yongliang Li