Solid-State Synthesis of Highly Dispersed Nitrogen-Coordinated Single Iron Atom Electrocatalysts for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

Fei Xiao, Xiang Liu, Cheng Jun Sun, Inhui Hwang, Qi Wang, Zhiwen Xu, Yian Wang, Shangqian Zhu, Hsi Wen Wu, Zidong Wei, Liping Zheng, Daojian Cheng, Meng Gu, Gui Liang Xu, Khalil Amine, Minhua Shao

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Fe-N-C with atomically dispersed Fe single atoms is the most promising candidate to replace platinum for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in fuel cells. However, the conventional synthesis procedures require quantities solvents and metal precursors, sluggish adsorption process, and tedious washing, resulting in limited metal doping and uneconomical for large-scale production. For the first time, Fe2O3 is adopted as the Fe precursor to derive abundant single Fe atoms dispersed on carbon surfaces. The Fe-N-C catalyst synthesized by this simple method shows an excellent ORR activity with half-wave potentials of 0.82 and 0.90 V in acidic and alkaline solutions, respectively. A single fuel cell with an optimized Fe-N-C cathode shows a high peak power density of 0.84 W cm-2. The solid-state transformation synthesis method developed in this study may shed light on mass production of single-atom-based catalysts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3633-3639
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Metal organic framework
  • proton exchange membrane fuel cell
  • single-atom catalyst
  • solid-state transformation

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