The bulk production of loose graphene flakes and its doped variants are important for energy applications including batteries, fuel cells, and supercapacitors as well as optoelectronic and thermal applications. While laser-based methods have been reported for large-scale synthesis of single-wall carbon nanohorns (SWNHs), similar large-scale production of graphene has not been reported. Here we explored the synthesis of doped few layered graphene by pulsed laser vaporization (PLV) with the goal of producing an oxidation resistant electrode support for solid acid fuel cells. PLV of graphite with various amounts of boron was carried out in mixtures in either Ar or Ar/H2 at 0.1 MPa at elevated temperatures under conditions typically used for synthesis of SWNHs. Both the addition of hydrogen to the background argon, or the addition of boron to the carbon target, was found to shift the formation of carbon nanohorns to two-dimensional flakes of a new form of few-layer graphene material, with sizes up to microns in dimension as confirmed by XRD and TEM. However, the materials made with boron exhibited superior resistance to carbon corrosion in the solid acid fuel cell and thermal oxidation resistance in air compared to similar product made without boron. Mechanisms for the synthesis and oxidation resistance of these materials will be discussed based upon detailed characterization and modeling.
•Synthesis science was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences (BES), Materials Sciences and Engineering Division. Material processing and characterization science supported by ARPA-E under Cooperative Agreement Number DE-AR0000499 and as a user project at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, a Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility.