Highly graphitized nitrogen-doped porous carbon nanopolyhedra derived from ZIF-8 nanocrystals as efficient electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reactions†
Nitrogen-doped graphitic porous carbons (NGPCs) have been synthesized by using a zeolite-type nanoscale metal–organic framework (NMOF) as a self-sacrificing template, which simultaneously acts as both the carbon and nitrogen sources in a facile carbonization process. The NGPCs not only retain the nanopolyhedral morphology of the parent NMOF, but also possess rich nitrogen, high surface area and hierarchical porosity with well-conducting networks. The promising potential of NGPCs as metal-free electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reactions (ORR) in fuel cells is demonstrated. Compared with commercial Pt/C, the optimized NGPC-1000-10 (carbonized at 1000 °C for 10 h) catalyst exhibits comparable electrocatalytic activity via an efficient four-electron-dominant ORR process coupled with superior methanol tolerance as well as cycling stability in alkaline media. Furthermore, the controlled experiments reveal that the optimum activity of NGPC-1000-10 can be attributed to the synergetic contributions of the abundant active sites with high graphitic-N portion, high surface area and porosity, and the high degree of graphitization. Our findings suggest that solely MOF-derived heteroatom-doped carbon materials can be a promising alternative for Pt-based catalysts in fuel cells.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Nanoscale 10th Anniversary: Top Cited Articles