Stepping Out of Transition Metals: Activating the Dual Atomic Catalyst through Main Group Elements

Mingzi Sun, Hon Ho Wong, Tong Wu, Alan William Dougherty, Bolong Huang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, investigations into atomic catalysts has accelerated significantly. Although different atomic catalysts have been developed, the introduction of main group elements is rarely considered. In this work, the possibility of introducing alkaline/alkaline earth metals (AAEM), post-transition metal (Post-TM), and metalloids to form stable graphdiyne-based dual atomic catalysts (GDY-DAC) is revealed. The main group elements not only act as a promising separator to improve the loading of DACs but also activate the alkyl chains to facilitate the electroactivity of GDY-DAC. Most importantly, the main group elements in the GDY-DAC do not affect the electroactivity of transition or lanthanide metals and even enable subtle modulations on the electronic structures. The p band center is a significant descriptor to modulate the electroactivity in oxides while their applications in the atomic catalysts are unclear. With the further evaluations of machine learning, it is found that the involvements of s-orbitals and p-orbitals perturb the prediction accuracies of both formation energies and p-band center, especially for the AAEM. This work supplies insights that are expected to aid progress in designing main group elements-based atomic catalysts, which opens a new avenue in designing advanced electrocatalysts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2101404
JournalAdvanced Energy Materials
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2021


  • dual atomic catalysts
  • graphdiyne
  • machine-learning
  • main group elements
  • s–p–d couplings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Materials Science


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