Scientific reports

M(salen)-derived nitrogen-doped M/C (M = Fe, Co, Ni) porous nanocomposites for electrocatalytic oxygen reduction.

PMID 24865606


Carbonaceous materials containing non-precious metal and/or doped nitrogen have attracted tremendous attention in the field of electrochemical energy storage and conversion. Herein, we report the synthesis and electrochemical properties of a new family of nitrogen-doped metal/carbon (M/N/C, M = Fe, Co, Ni) nanocomposites. The M/N/C nanocomposites, in which metal nanoparticles are embedded in the highly porous nitrogen-doped carbon matrix, have been synthesized by simply pyrolyzing M(salen) (salen = N,N'-bis(salicylidene)-ethylenediamine) complex precursors. The prepared Co/N/C and Fe/N/C exhibit remarkable electrocatalytic activity (with onset potential of 0.96 V for Fe/N/C and half-wave potential of 0.80 V for Co/N/C) and high stability for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). The superior performance of the nanocomposites is attributed to their bimodal-pore structure, high surface area, as well as uniform distribution of high-density nitrogen and metal active sites.