New Transition Metal-CN ORR Electrocatalysts with a ' Core-Shell 'Ł Structure
In this work, a new family of ORR electrocatalysts meant for the alkaline environment is devised, taking advantage of an innovative preparation protocol . The electrocatalysts consist of a carbon nitride matrix coordinating active sites based on first-row transition metals; the carbon nitride matrix further coats graphite nanoparticles characterized by a good electron conductivity, which act as the support and improve the dispersion of the active sites giving so rise to a “core-shell” morphology . The chemical composition of the electrocatalysts is investigated by inductively-coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) and microanalysis; the morphology is characterized by high-resolution scanning electron microscopy (HR-SEM) and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM); the surface structure and surface chemical composition is elucidated by nitrogen physisorption techniques and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, respectively. The structure of the electrocatalysts is studied by powder X-ray diffraction and vibrational spectroscopies. Finally, the performance of the electrocatalysts in the ORR and the reaction mechanism are determined by cyclic voltammetry with the thin-film rotating ring-disk electrode (CV-TF-RRDE) technique (see Figure 1).
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