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

Wenling Gu, Maochun Wu, Jing Sun, Jianbo Xu, Tianshou Zhao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20132-20138
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)

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