Targeted Synthesis of Metal Dual Atom Electrocatalysts
Jesus Barrio a, Angus Pedersen a, Jingyu Feng b, Maria-Magdalena Titirici b, Ifan E.L. Stephens a
a Department of Materials, Imperial College London, Prince Consort Rd, South Kensington, London, United Kingdom
b Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London, SW7 2AZ, UK, Imperial College Road, London, United Kingdom
Proceedings of International Conference on Frontiers in Electrocatalytic Transformations (INTERECT)
València, Spain, 2021 November 22nd - 23rd
Organizers: Elena Mas Marzá and Ward van der Stam
Contributed talk, Jesus Barrio, presentation 003
Publication date: 10th November 2021

Natural enzymes present within their structure active centres composed of earth-abundant metals in atomic proximity. Such active sites, dual atom catalysts, display a unique efficiency in catalytic processes such as the nitrogen conversion to ammonia, the production of ethylene through C-C coupling, or the oxygen reduction reaction in fuel cells amongst others.[1,2] The high catalytic activity of dual atom catalysts arises from the different binding mode of reactant molecules to that of metal foils and single atom catalysts, which allows to break transition scaling relationships.[3] Nevertheless, the synthesis of this kind of materials, as well as their thorough characterization is highly challenging owing to the trend to aggregation of isolated metallic moieties. In this work we show a general approach to fabricate bioinspired Fe dual atom catalysts in a nitrogen doped carbon support and its application as electrocatalyst in the oxygen reduction reaction. The two-step procedure leads to well defined Fe-based dimers which were characterized by means of X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and scanning transmission electron microscopy amongst others, and displays high catalytic performance, opening the gate towards the rational design of bioinspired catalysts for energy-related applications.

The authors acknowledge financial support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) (EP/M0138/1 and EP/S023259/1), the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No. 866402)  and the National Research Council of Canada through the Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge Program. A.P. thanks the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in the Advanced Characterisation of Materials (grant number EP/L015277/1).

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