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Pyrolysis of a flash nanoprecipitated tannic acid–metal@polymer assembly to create an electrochemically active metal@nanocarbon catalyst

Abstract

Herein, hydrophobic tannic acid–iron (TA–Fe) coordination composites were encapsulated within polystyrene-copolyacrylonitrile (PS-c-PAN) nanospheres using the flash nanoprecipitation (FNP) technique. Carbon materials with uniform and dense distributions of metal NPs were obtained after carbonization under the protection and confinement of the polymer matrix. The as-prepared Fe and nitrogen codoped carbon materials exhibited enhanced electrocatalytic performance in the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER). In addition, the catalytic ability of the carbon/metal composites could be affected by tuning the morphology and composition.

Highlights

  • The flash nanoprecipitation (FNP) technique was employed to prepare polymer nanomaterial-entrapped metal precursors.

  • The confinement function of polymers ensured a uniform distribution of metal NPs within the carbon matrix after carbonization.

  • The morphology and electrocatalytic activities of the obtained catalysts could be varied by changing the processing parameters.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21774095), Shanghai Municipal Natural Science Foundation (17ZR1432200), start-up funding from Tongji University and the Young Thousand Talented Program.

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Correspondence to Rui Liu.

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Wang, J., Zhang, Z., Zhao, J. et al. Pyrolysis of a flash nanoprecipitated tannic acid–metal@polymer assembly to create an electrochemically active metal@nanocarbon catalyst. Polym J 52, 539–547 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41428-020-0305-1

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