Influence of nitrogen and iron precursors on the synthesis of FeN x/carbons electrocatalysts toward oxygen reduction reaction in acid solution

Shou Heng Liu, Jyun Ren Wu

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17 Citations (Scopus)


A variety of non-noble electrocatalysts (Fe(III)Nx/C and Fe(II)N6/C) have been fabricated by pyrolyzing nitrogen-rich compounds (ethylenediamine, tetraethylenepetamine and pentaethylenehexamine) and iron precursors (iron(III) chloride and iron(II) ammonium sulphate) on carbon blacks (Vulcan XC-72) in a nitrogen atmosphere. The catalytic performance (activity and durability) toward oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is comparatively examined by rotating disk electrode and chronoamperometric techniques. The results show that nitrogen precursors play a crucial role on the chemical microstructure and performance of electrocatalysts. The influence of various nitrogen and iron precursors on the properties of electrocatalysts has been analyzed by X-ray based spectroscopies including X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). Among all the Fe(III)Nx/C and Fe(II)N6/C catalysts, Fe(III)N6/C catalysts which pentaethylenehexamine and iron(III) chloride are used as starting precursors possess the superior electrocatalytic ORR activity and durability probably due to their higher surface Fe/C and N/C atomic ratios with the pyridinic-N and quaternary-N active sites for the formation of the FeN4 species, as verified by XPS and XAS analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-153
Number of pages7
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jul 20

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Electrochemistry


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