Defects on carbons for electrocatalytic oxygen reduction
The exploration of highly active and durable cathodic oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalysts with economical production costs is still the bottleneck to realize the large-scale commercialization of fuel cells. In recent years, remarkable progress has been achieved in fabricating effective non-precious metal based ORR catalysts. In particular, modified carbon materials have aroused extensive research interest because of their excellent performance and low cost. In this review, we present an overview on recent advancements in developing defective carbon based materials for catalyzing the ORR. In particular, three general kinds of defective carbon electrocatalysts will be summarized. They are non-metal induced defective carbons (modified by heteroatoms), intrinsic defective carbons (defects created by a physical or chemical method), and atomic metal species induced/coordinated defective carbons (metal-macrocycle complexes with different coordination environments). The common configurations of various defective carbons will be discussed, with typical examples on recently developed both metal-free and precious/non-precious metal species coordinated carbons. Finally, the future research directions of the defective carbon materials are proposed. The newly established defect promoted catalysis mechanism will be beneficial for the design and fabrication of highly effective electrocatalysts for practical energy storage and conversion applications.