Hollow Spheres of Iron Carbide Nanoparticles Encased in Graphitic Layers as Oxygen Reduction Catalysts

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Abstract

Nonprecious metal catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction are the ultimate materials and the foremost subject for low‐temperature fuel cells. A novel type of catalysts prepared by high‐pressure pyrolysis is reported. The catalyst is featured by hollow spherical morphologies consisting of uniform iron carbide (Fe3C) nanoparticles encased by graphitic layers, with little surface nitrogen or metallic functionalities. In acidic media the outer graphitic layers stabilize the carbide nanoparticles without depriving them of their catalytic activity towards the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). As a result the catalyst is highly active and stable in both acid and alkaline electrolytes. The synthetic approach, the carbide‐based catalyst, the structure of the catalysts, and the proposed mechanism open new avenues for the development of ORR catalysts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAngewandte Chemie
Volume126
Issue number14
Pages (from-to)3749-3753
ISSN0044-8249
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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