High-Density Cobalt Single-Atom Catalysts for Enhanced Oxygen Evolution Reaction

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  • Single atom catalysts (SACs) possess unique catalytic properties due to low-coordination and unsaturated active sites. However, the demonstrated performance of SACs is limited by low SAC loading, poor metal–support interactions, and nonstable performance. Herein, we report a macromolecule-assisted SAC synthesis approach that enabled us to demonstrate high-density Co single atoms (10.6 wt % Co SAC) in a pyridinic N-rich graphenic network. The highly porous carbon network (surface area of ∼186 m2 g–1) with increased conjugation and vicinal Co site decoration in Co SACs significantly enhanced the electrocatalytic oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in 1 M KOH (η10 at 351 mV; mass activity of 2209 mA mgCo–1 at 1.65 V) with more than 300 h stability. Operando X-ray absorption near-edge structure demonstrates the formation of electron-deficient Co-O coordination intermediates, accelerating OER kinetics. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations reveal the facile electron transfer from cobalt to oxygen species-accelerated OER.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International