Dispersive Single-Atom Metals Anchored on Functionalized Nanocarbons for Electrochemical Reactions

Abstract

The use of dispersive single-atom metals anchored on functionalized carbon nanomaterials as electrocatalysts for electrochemical energy conversion reactions represents a burgeoning area of research, due to their unique characteristics of low coordination number, uniform coordination environment, and maximum atomic utilization. Here we highlight the advanced synthetic methods, characterization techniques, and electrochemical applications for carbon-based single-atom metal catalysts, and provide illustrative correlations between molecular/electronic structures and specific catalytic activity for O2 reduction, water splitting, and other emerging reactions including CO2 reduction, H2O2 production, and N2 reduction. We also discuss fundamental principles for the future design of carbon-based single-atom metal catalysts for specific electrochemical reactions. In addition, we explore the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in further work with carbon-based single-atom metal electrocatalysts.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2017YFB0102900), the Research Grant Council (N_HKUST610/17) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Guangdong Special Fund for Science and Technology Development [Hong Kong Technology Cooperation Funding Scheme (201704030019 and 201704030065)].

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This article is part of the Topical Collection “Electrocatalysis”; edited by Minhua Shao.

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Li, J., Wei, Z., Liu, D. et al. Dispersive Single-Atom Metals Anchored on Functionalized Nanocarbons for Electrochemical Reactions. Top Curr Chem (Z) 377, 4 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41061-018-0229-9

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Keywords

  • Single-atom metal catalysts
  • Oxygen reduction
  • Water splitting
  • Carbon dioxide reduction
  • Nitrogen reduction