Inductive Effect on Single-Atom Sites

J Am Chem Soc. 2023 Dec 20;145(50):27531-27538. doi: 10.1021/jacs.3c09190. Epub 2023 Dec 6.


Single-atom catalysts exhibit promising electrocatalytic activity, a trait that can be further enhanced through the introduction of heteroatom doping within the carbon skeleton. Nonetheless, the intricate relationship between the doping positions and activity remains incompletely elucidated. This contribution sheds light on an inductive effect of single-atom sites, showcasing that the activity of the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) can be augmented by reducing the spatial gap between the doped heteroatom and the single-atom sites. Drawing inspiration from this inductive effect, we propose a synthesis strategy involving ligand modification aimed at precisely adjusting the distance between dopants and single-atom sites. This precise synthesis leads to optimized electrocatalytic activity for the ORR. The resultant electrocatalyst, characterized by Fe-N3P1 single-atom sites, demonstrates remarkable ORR activity, thus exhibiting great potential in zinc-air batteries and fuel cells.