Embellished hollow spherical catalyst boosting activity and durability for oxygen reduction reaction

Pan Xu, Jing Zhang, Gaopeng Jiang, Fathy Hassan, Ja Yeon Choi, Xiaogang Fu, Pouyan Zamani, Lijun Yang, Dustin Banham, Siyu Ye, Zhongwei Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Transition metals hybridized to heteroatom doped carbon material can be regarded as the most promising non-noble candidate for boosting the sluggish kinetics of oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). However, it has always been a challenge to vastly boost the activity, and simultaneously retain a favorable structure from the supporting material. Herein, we prepared a high surface area hollow spherical carbon as a supporting material, and employed aminothiophenol (ATI) and poly-aminothiophenol (PATI) as heteroatom precursors to synthesize nitrogen and sulfur co-doped catalysts, i.e. HCS-A and HCS-PA, respectively. The two catalysts possessed chemically similar surface composition, and nearly identical chemical states for each element. However, only HCS-A was able to vastly inherit both morphological advantage and high surface area from the carbon support. In further half-cell electrochemical testing, HCS-A performed better ORR activities and higher selectivity toward 4 electron pathway than HCS-PA in both acidic and alkaline media. Moreover, HCS-A was proven to have excellent durability in half-cell testing, methanol tolerance as well as outstanding peak power density in both fuel cells and zinc-air batteries. This work not only indicates the promising performances of HCS-A, but more importantly offers a new viewpoint on the selection of heteroatom precursor to retain a favorable structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-753
Number of pages9
JournalNano Energy
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Electron transfer number
  • Hollow sphere
  • Non-precious catalyst
  • Oxygen reduction
  • PEM Fuel Cell
  • Zinc-air battery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Materials Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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