Exploring the Effect of Gold Support on the Oxygen Reduction Reaction Activity of Metal Porphycenes

Megha Anand, Samira Siahrostami, Jens K. Nørskov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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It has been a long-standing goal to find alternative, cost effective catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in fuel cells. Molecular complexes capable of efficiently catalyzing ORR, when supported on a conducting solid surface could provide interesting hybrid materials combining the best of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis. We use density functional theory to study the ORR activity of molecular (unsupported) and gold supported 3d metal (II)-porphycenes (MPc). All the 3d metal-porphycenes adsorb strongly on the Au(111) support with negative free energy of formation ranging from 1.0–3.0 eV while solvation lowers the energy of molecular MPc by only 0.5 eV compared to the gas phase. These indicate that the 3d MPc are stable and anchored firmly to the gold surface under ORR conditions. Based on our analysis, the gold support enhances the ORR activity in some of the examined MPc systems. We find that the molecular MnPc and FePc are the best ORR electrocatalysts with theoretical overpotentials of 0.44 V and 0.36 V. This work highlights the important role of the support in preserving/increasing the activity of molecular catalyst.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number23
Pages (from-to)5505-5510
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Electrocatalysis
  • Heterogeneous catalysis
  • Homogeneous catalysis
  • Metal-porphycenes
  • Oxygen reduction reaction

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