A Simple Synthesis of an Excellent Oxygen Reduction Catalyst: Nitrogen-Doped, Sharply-Mesoporous Carbon from Magnesium Salts
We present a particularly simple synthesis of N-doped carbon, starting from magnesium salts of nitrogen-containing ligands. Pyrolysis of the salts proceeds by the little-researched mechanism of self-templating – formation of similarly sized MgO nanoparticle cores, which are then washed out with dilute acid, leaving behind a narrow pore size distribution.
These carbons have high surface areas (>1400 m2/gr), nitrogen doping levels topping what is required for catalysis (>4%), and most interestingly, a very narrow pore size distribution (ranging from 10 to 20 nm for different carbons). Tested in alkaline ORR catalysis, these carbons compete successfully with commercial platinum-based electrodes, so they are efficient, cheap, and simple to prepare.
(1) W. Wei, H. Liang, K. Parvez, X. Zhuang, X. Feng, K. Müllen, Angew. Chem. 2014, 126, 1596.