In a previous publication we have shown that the presence of protonated nitrogen groups can enhance the ORR activity of Fe-N-C catalysts. In addition theoretical calculations reveal that the largest enhancement in terms of required overpotential would be expected for the combination of MnN4 sites with carboxylic group. In this work, we try to apply this promotor concept to our MNC catalysts (M= Co, Fe, Mn) by introducing targeted carboxylic groups via plasma treatments in different gas atmospheres (O2, CO2). Fe-N-C was selected as most promising candidate for FC application, Co-N-C as possible candidate for hydrogen peroxide formation and Mn-N-C due to previous findings on the improvement of the overpotential by carboxylic groups. Rotating ring disk (RRDE) studies were performed to investigate the positive effect of plasma treatments on the activity and selectivity of the MNC catalysts. In addition, the initial and the modified MNCs were characterized using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and Raman spectroscopy to identify the plasma induced structural changes and their effect on the activity and selectivity data.
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