Biologically inspired highly durable iron phthalocyanine catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells

J Am Chem Soc. 2010 Dec 8;132(48):17056-8. doi: 10.1021/ja106217u. Epub 2010 Nov 12.


In the present work, we have designed and synthesized a new highly durable iron phtalocyanine based nonprecious oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalyst (Fe-SPc) for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). The Fe-SPc, with a novel structure inspired by that of naturally occurring oxygen activation catalysts, is prepared by a nonpyrolyzing method, allowing adequate control of the atomic structure and surface properties of the material. Significantly improved ORR stability of the Fe-SPc is observed compared with the commercial Fe-Pc catalysts. The Fe-SPc has similar activity to that of the commercial Fe-Pc initially, while the Fe-SPc displays 4.6 times higher current density than that of the commercial Fe-Pc after 10 sweep potential cycles, and a current density that is 7.4 times higher after 100 cycles. This has been attributed to the incorporation of electron-donating functional groups, along with a high degree of steric hindrance maintaining active site isolation. Nonprecious Fe-SPc is promising as a potential alternative ORR electrocatalyst for PEMFCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomimetics*
  • Catalysis
  • Electric Power Supplies*
  • Electrolytes / chemistry
  • Ferrous Compounds / chemistry*
  • Indoles / chemistry*
  • Membranes, Artificial*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxygen / chemistry*
  • Polymers / chemistry*


  • Electrolytes
  • Ferrous Compounds
  • Indoles
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Polymers
  • iron phthalocyanine
  • Oxygen