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Atomically dispersed Fe–Nₓ active sites within hierarchical mesoporous carbon as efficient electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction

Author:
Gu, Wenling, Wu, Maochun, Sun, Jing, Xu, Jianbo, Zhao, Tianshou
Source:
Journal of materials chemistry A 2019 v.7 no.35 pp. 20132-20138
ISSN:
2050-7496
Subject:
active sites, carbon, catalysts, catalytic activity, cobalt, cost effectiveness, dopamine, durability, electrochemistry, energy conversion, ferric chloride, hydrophilicity, platinum, polymerization, porous media, potassium hydroxide, surface area
Abstract:
It is still a great challenge to develop highly efficient catalysts with earth abundant materials to replace the precious platinum group metal (PGM) catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). Here, we report a self-sacrificing template strategy to synthesize hierarchical mesoporous carbon materials with atomically dispersed Fe–Nₓ active sites. Derived from an Fe–polydopamine precursor obtained via in situ polymerization of dopamine and etching of a cobalt template using an FeCl₃ solution, the resultant catalyst shows a high specific surface area (1229.3 m² g⁻¹), a hierarchical mesoporous structure, an improved hydrophilicity, and abundant atomically dispersed Fe–Nₓ active sites. As a result, the single atom catalyst exhibits a remarkable activity and durability in 0.1 M KOH with an onset and half-wave potential of 1.03 and 0.88 V, respectively, which surpass those of its commercial Pt/C counterpart. In acidic and neutral media, the catalyst also exhibits a comparable electrocatalytic activity to but much greater durability than commercial Pt/C. This work opens a new avenue for synthesis of cost-effective catalysts at the atomic scale for efficient energy conversion.
Agid:
6651383