Subnanometer iron clusters confined in a porous carbon matrix for highly efficient zinc-air batteries

Xin Wu, Juncai Dong, Mei Qiu, Yang Li, Yongfan Zhang, Huabin Zhang, Jian Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


At the molecular level, metal coordinates are crucial for stabilizing an appropriate electronic configuration for high-efficiency oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) electrocatalysts. In this work, an excellent platform to realize the decoration of Fe coordinates at the subnanometer scale into nitrogen-doped carbon networks (designated as Fe-Fe@NC) is provided. X-ray absorption spectroscopy confirmed the precise configuration of Fe coordinates with Fe-Fe and Fe-N coordinations at the molecular level. As a cathode catalyst, the newly developed Fe-Fe@NC exhibited superior ORR performance and a higher peak power density of 175 mW cm-2 in Zn-air batteries. Unlike most reported pristine Fe-based catalysts, Fe-Fe@NC also showed good oxygen evolution reaction (OER) activity, with a low operating potential (1.67 V vs. RHE) at a current density of 10 mA cm-2. Calculations based on density functional theory revealed that the Fe-Fe coordination in Fe subclusters favored the 4e- transfer pathway and, thus, achieved highly active catalytic performance. This work reveals that iron clusters at the subnanometer scale provide an optimized electronic structure for enhanced ORR activity.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-365
Number of pages7
JournalNanoscale Horizons
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

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Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2022-09-15


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