Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 55, Issue 11, pp 4780–4791 | Cite as

Hierarchically porous carbon with pentagon defects as highly efficient catalyst for oxygen reduction and oxygen evolution reactions

  • Zhaowei Zeng
  • Lei Yi
  • Jianwei He
  • Qian Hu
  • Yucong Liao
  • Yadong WangEmail author
  • Wenbin LuoEmail author
  • Mu Pan
Energy materials


Highly dispersed electrocatalysts and single-atom catalysts receive extensive attention in the field of multiple reactions involving water spitting, oxygen reduction, and CO2 reduction. Herein, we develop a Fe/N co-doped hierarchically structured porous carbon (Fe/N/C-DT) by the dual-templating approach, involving the incorporation of ferrocenecarboxaldehyde (Fc–CHO) into the polyimide, followed by carbonization at 900 °C and etching. A steric hindrance offered by the ferrocene and the porosity of the obtained nanostructure prevent the aggregation of Fe atoms, resulting in the maximization of catalytic efficiency of iron-based sites. FeCl2/N/C-DT and FeSO4/N/C-DT using FeCl2 and FeSO4 as iron sources, respectively, are prepared for comparison, to further confirm the potential positive effect of Fc–CHO and explore the synergistic effect of the pentagon defects and Fe–N4 on the catalytic performance in oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). The prepared Fe/N/C-DT exhibits outstanding electrochemical activity toward ORR (E1/2 = 0.902 V vs RHE) and impressive OER activity (Ej=10 = 1.66 V) in alkaline conditions. The rechargeable Zn–air battery using Fe/N/C-DT as a cathode catalyst shows a peak power density of 220 mW cm−2 and a high open–circuit voltage of 1.451 V in the all-solid-state Zn–air battery.



The authors wish to acknowledge the National Natural Science Foundations of China (No. 21473128) for financial assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10853_2019_4327_MOESM1_ESM.docx (9 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 9214 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Materials Synthesis and ProcessingWuhan University of TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.College of Materials Science and EngineeringChangsha University of Science and TechnologyChangshaChina

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