Impact of iron precursors on the properties and activities of carbon-supported Fe-N oxygen reduction catalysts

Shou Heng Liu, Jyun Ren Wu, Feng Sheng Zheng, Jia Ming Guo

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Two iron precursors (iron(III) chloride and iron(II) ammonium sulfate) with a nitrogen-containing compound (ethylenediamine) were pyrolyzed on commercially available carbon blacks (Vulcan XC-72) under a nitrogen flow in this study. The properties of the resultant nonnoble electrocatalysts (Fe(Z)N/C-2 and Fe(Z)N/C-8) effected by using different iron precursors during the synthetic process were investigated by X-ray-based spectroscopies including X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). The electrocatalytic performance toward oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) of these electrocatalysts was also comparatively studied by rotating disk electrode and chronoamperometric techniques. The obtained results indicate that iron precursors play an essential role on the chemical microstructure, elemental states, and ORR performance of electrocatalysts. The electrocatalysts (Fe(III)N/C-8) prepared by using iron(III) chloride as starting precursors exhibit better electrochemical ORR activity and durability among all the synthesized catalysts. As evidenced by XPS and XAS studies, we conclude that this may be due to the formation of active FeNx sites, more surface Fe/C and N/C atomic ratios, and the coexistence of pyridinic-N and graphitic-N species in the Fe(III)N/C-8 electrocatalyst.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1381-1391
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Solid State Electrochemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Apr 21

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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