Aimed at developing a highly active and stable non-precious metal electrocatalyst for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), a novel FexNy/NC nanocomposite—that is composed of highly dispersed iron nitride nanoparticles supported on nitrogen-doped carbon (NC)—was prepared by pyrolyzing carbon black with an iron-containing precursor in an NH3 atmosphere. The influence of the various synthetic parameters such as the Fe precursor, Fe content, pyrolysis temperature and pyrolysis time on ORR performance of the prepared iron nitride nanoparticles was investigated. The formed phases were determined by experimental and simulated X-ray diffraction (XRD) of numerous iron nitride species. We found that Fe3N phase creates superactive non-metallic catalytic sites for ORR that are more active than those of the constituents. The optimized Fe3N/NC nanocomposite exhibited excellent ORR activity and a direct four-electron pathway in alkaline solution. Furthermore, the hybrid material showed outstanding catalytic durability in alkaline electrolyte, even after 4,000 potential cycles.
- Iron nitride
- Nitrogen-doped carbon
- Non-precious metal electrocatalysts
- Oxygen reduction reaction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry