Temperature Controlled Surface Chemistry of Nitrogen-Doped Mesoporous Carbon and its Influence on Pt ORR Activity

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Subject Area(s)

Chemical Engineering


In this work, the influence of surface nitrogen on the dispersion and oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity of Pt nanoparticles (NPs) supported on nitrogen-doped mesoporous carbon (NMC) was investigated. The NMCs were synthesized from a modified SBA-15 template to impart a disordered pore structure. The nitrogen content was thermally controlled by heating the NMCs to 800, 1000, 1200, or 1400 °C. X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy showed that the nitrogen content and the graphiticity of NMC were inversely coupled. Pt NPs dispersion worsened with a decrease in nitrogen content or increase in the graphiticity. The highest ORR mass activity was obtained for Pt supported on NMC treated at 1000 °C. However, the highest ORR specific activity was obtained for Pt supported on NMC treated at 1400 °C. The results of this work show that both the nitrogen content and the carbon graphiticity can be tailored to yield Pt ORR catalysts with excellent dispersion and high ORR activity.