Depletable peroxidase-like activity of Fe3O4 nanozymes accompanied with separate migration of electrons and iron ions

Haijiao Dong, Wei Du, Jian Dong, Renchao Che, Fei Kong, Wenlong Cheng, Ming Ma, Ning Gu, Yu Zhang

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98 Citations (Scopus)


As pioneering Fe3O4 nanozymes, their explicit peroxidase (POD)-like catalytic mechanism remains elusive. Although many studies have proposed surface Fe2+-induced Fenton-like reactions accounting for their POD-like activity, few have focused on the internal atomic changes and their contribution to the catalytic reaction. Here we report that Fe2+ within Fe3O4 can transfer electrons to the surface via the Fe2+-O-Fe3+ chain, regenerating the surface Fe2+ and enabling a sustained POD-like catalytic reaction. This process usually occurs with the outward migration of excess oxidized Fe3+ from the lattice, which is a rate-limiting step. After prolonged catalysis, Fe3O4 nanozymes suffer the phase transformation to γ-Fe2O3 with depletable POD-like activity. This self-depleting characteristic of nanozymes with internal atoms involved in electron transfer and ion migration is well validated on lithium iron phosphate nanoparticles. We reveal a neglected issue concerning the necessity of considering both surface and internal atoms when designing, modulating, and applying nanozymes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5365
Number of pages11
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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