Nano Research

, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 3469–3479 | Cite as

Conversion of confined metal@ZIF-8 structures to intermetallic nanoparticles supported on nitrogen-doped carbon for electrocatalysis

  • Zhiyuan Qi
  • Yuchen Pei
  • Tian Wei Goh
  • Zhaoyi Wang
  • Xinle Li
  • Mary Lowe
  • Raghu V. Maligal-Ganesh
  • Wenyu HuangEmail author
Research Article


We report a facile strategy to synthesize intermetallic nanoparticle (iNP) electrocatalysts via one-pot pyrolysis of a zeolitic imidazolate framework, ZIF-8, encapsulating precious metal nanoparticles (NPs). ZIF-8 serves not only as precursor for N-doped carbon (NC), but also as Zn source for the formation of intermetallic or alloy NPs with the encapsulated metals. The resulting sub-4 nm PtZn iNPs embedded in NC exhibit high sintering resistance up to 1,000 °C. Importantly, the present methodology allows fine-tuning of both composition (e.g., PdZn and RhZn iNPs, as well as AuZn and RuZn alloy NPs) and size (2.4, 3.7, and 5.4 nm PtZn) of the as-formed bimetallic NPs. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of a metal-organic framework (MOF) with multiple functionalities, such as secondary metal source, carbon precursor, and size-regulating reagent, which promote the formation of iNPs. This work opens a new avenue for the synthesis of highly uniform and stable iNPs.


intermetallic compounds cage confinement pyrolysis electrocatalysis sintering resistance 


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Acknowledgment is made to the donors of the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund for support of this research. We thank Gordon J. Miller for the use of the X-ray diffractometer. We also thank Dapeng Jing at the Materials Analysis and Research Laboratory (MARL) of Iowa State University for the assistance on XPS measurement.

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Conversion of confined metal@ZIF-8 structures to intermetallic nanoparticles supported on nitrogen-doped carbon for electrocatalysis


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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhiyuan Qi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yuchen Pei
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tian Wei Goh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhaoyi Wang
    • 1
    • 3
  • Xinle Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mary Lowe
    • 1
  • Raghu V. Maligal-Ganesh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wenyu Huang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.Ames LaboratoryU.S. Department of EnergyAmesUSA
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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