Structural effects of a carbon matrix in non-precious metal O2-reduction electrocatalysts
Developing non-precious metal electrocatalysts (NPMCs) for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is of paramount importance for commercial implementation of several clean energy techniques (e.g. proton exchange membrane fuel cells). However, limited understanding of the ORR catalytic mechanism of NPMCs greatly hinders the progress in the precise fabrication of NPMCs at the molecular or atomic level. Recently, an increasing number of studies have demonstrated the crucial role of a carbon matrix in exposing, stabilizing, and activating the catalytic sites, thus providing a platform to identify the nature of NPMCs. Herein, the unique structural effects of a carbon matrix in NPMCs are first reviewed to inspire the development of more advanced NPMCs for the ORR.