The Challenge of Achieving a High Density of Fe-Based Active Sites in a Highly Graphitic Carbon Matrix

Abstract : As one of the most promising platinum group metal-free (PGM-free) catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), Fe–N–C catalysts with a high density of FeNx moieties integrated in a highly graphitic carbon matrix with a proper porous structure have attracted extensive attention to combine the high activity, high stability and high accessibility of active sites. Herein, we investigated a ZnCl2/NaCl eutectic salts-assisted ionothermal carbonization method (ICM) to synthesize Fe–N–C catalysts with tailored porous structure, high specific surface area and a high degree of graphitization. However, it was found to be challenging to anchor a high density of FeNx sites onto highly graphitized carbon. Iron precursors with preexisting Fe–N coordination were required to form FeNx sites in the nitrogen-doped carbon with a high degree of graphitization, while individual Fe and N precursors led to a Fe–N–C catalyst with poor-ORR activity. This provides valuable insights into the synthesis-structure relationship. Moreover, the FeNx moieties were identified as the major active sites in acidic conditions, while both FeNx sites and Fe2O3 were found to be active in alkaline medium
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Jingkun Li, Qingying Jia, Sanjeev Mukerjee, Moulay-Tahar Sougrati, Goran Drazic, et al.. The Challenge of Achieving a High Density of Fe-Based Active Sites in a Highly Graphitic Carbon Matrix. Catalysts, MDPI, 2019, 9 (2), pp.144. ⟨10.3390/catal9020144⟩. ⟨hal-02080940⟩

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