Localizing Tungsten Single Atoms around Tungsten Nitride Nanoparticles for Efficient Oxygen Reduction Electrocatalysis in Metal–Air Batteries

Yuanyuan Ma, Yong Yu, Junhui Wang, Jason Lipton, Hui Ning Tan, Lirong Zheng, Tong Yang, Zhaolin Liu, Xian Jun Loh, Stephen J. Pennycook, Lei Shen, Zongkui Kou, André D. Taylor, John Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Combining isolated atomic active sites with those in nanoparticles for synergizing complex multistep catalysis is being actively pursued in the design of new electrocatalyst systems. However, these novel systems have been rarely studied due to the challenges with synthesis and analysis. Herein, a synergistically catalytic performance is demonstrated with a 0.89 V (vs reversible hydrogen electrode) onset potential in the four-step oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) by localizing tungsten single atoms around tungsten nitride nanoparticles confined into nitrogen-doped carbon (W SAs/WNNC). Through density functional theory calculations, it is shown that each of the active centers in the synergistic entity feature a specific potential-determining step in their respective reaction pathway that can be merged to optimize the intermediate steps involving scaling relations on individual active centers. Impressively, the W SAs/WNNC as the air cathode in all-solid-state Zn-air and Al-air batteries demonstrate competitive durability and reversibility, despite the acknowledged low activity of W-based catalyst toward the ORR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvanced Science
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • metal–air batteries
  • oxygen reduction reaction
  • single atom catalysts
  • synergistic effect
  • tungsten nitrides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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