18 July 2024
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Understanding the Importance of Regulating Atomic Fe-Rh Site Distance for Efficient Oxygen Reduction Reaction

In a recent study published in Science China Chemistry, researchers have delved into the crucial aspect of regulating the atomic site distance of Fe-Rh catalysts to enhance the efficiency of the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). This investigation involved a combination of theoretical calculations and experimental techniques to explore how the distance between Fe and Rh atoms impacts the catalytic performance of the catalysts.

Insights from Theoretical Calculations and Experimental Synthesis

The researchers utilized electrostatic potential (ESP) and Bader charge analysis in theoretical calculations to predict the changes in catalytic and electronic structures of Fe-Rh catalysts at different atomic site distances (dFe-Rh). These calculations highlighted how optimizing the site distance can enhance the adsorption strength of the catalyst, leading to improved performance in ORR. Motivated by these findings, the researchers designed Fe-Rhx@NC catalysts using a spatial confinement strategy and synthesized them with varying dFe-Rh distances. High-angle toroidal dark field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM) images confirmed the successful synthesis of catalysts at different Fe-Rh atomic distances.

Impact of Site Distance on Catalyst Performance

Further characterization through X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) provided insights into the interaction strength between Fe and Rh at different site distances. The Fe-Rh2@NC catalyst, with an optimal atomic distance, exhibited the most positive onset potential (Eonset) and a half-wave potential (E1/2) of 1.01 and 0.91 V vs. RHE, surpassing the performance of Fe-Rh1@NC, Fe@NC, and even commercial Pt/C catalysts. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations revealed that Fe-Rh2@NC showed moderate interaction with O2, favorable adsorption energy, and enhanced kinetic processes for ORR. Additionally, the Fe-Rh2@NC bimetallic catalyst demonstrated higher electron transfer ability and catalytic performance compared to Fe@NC, as indicated by a higher projected state density near the Fermi level.

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Key Findings and Future Implications

The study, led by Associate Researcher Ding Tao and Professor Yao Tao from the University of Science and Technology of China, sheds light on the importance of regulating atomic Fe-Rh site distance for optimizing ORR catalysis. By combining theoretical insights with experimental synthesis and characterization techniques, the researchers have provided valuable insights into the design of efficient catalysts for renewable energy applications. The findings not only contribute to the fundamental understanding of catalytic mechanisms but also offer a pathway for developing advanced materials with enhanced performance for energy conversion technologies.

The precise control of atomic site distance in bimetallic catalysts represents a promising strategy for achieving high efficiency in electrochemical reactions like ORR. This research opens up new possibilities for tailoring the properties of catalysts at the atomic scale, paving the way for the development of sustainable energy solutions.

Links to additional Resources:

1. www.nature.com/articles/s41422-022-00702-7 2. www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S221028632200080X 3. www.wiley.com/en-us/Journal-of+Catalysis-p-90000004

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Catalysis, Oxygen reduction reaction, Bimetallic catalysts

Catalysis () is the increase in rate of a chemical reaction due to an added substance known as a catalyst (). Catalysts are not consumed by the reaction and remain unchanged after it. If the reaction is rapid and the catalyst recycles quickly, very small amounts of catalyst often suffice;...
Read more: Catalysis

Oxygen reduction reaction
In chemistry, the oxygen reduction reaction refers to the reduction half reaction whereby O2 is reduced to water or hydrogen peroxide. In fuel cells, the reduction to water is preferred because the current is higher. The oxygen reduction reaction is well demonstrated and highly efficient in nature.
Read more: Oxygen reduction reaction

Adsorption is the adhesion of atoms, ions or molecules from a gas, liquid or dissolved solid to a surface. This process creates a film of the adsorbate on the surface of the adsorbent. This process differs from absorption, in which a fluid (the absorbate) is dissolved by or permeates a...
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