Phosphorus-doping activates carbon nanotubes for efficient electroreduction of nitrogen to ammonia
P-doped carbon nanotubes, nitrogen reduction reaction, active sites, reaction pathway, electrocatalysis
The electrochemical nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR) as an energy-efficient approach for ammonia synthesis is hampered by the low ammonia yield and ambiguous reaction mechanism. Herein, phosphorus-doped carbon nanotube (P-CNTs) is developed as an efficient metal-free electrocatalyst for NRR with a remarkable NH3 yield of 24.4 μg·h−1·mg−1cat. and partial current density of 0.61 mA·cm−2. Such superior activity is found to be from P doping and highly conjugated CNTs substrate. Experimental and theoretical investigations discover that the electron-deficient phosphorus sites with Lewis acidity should be genuine active sites and NRR on P-CNTs follows the distal pathway. These findings provide insightful understanding on NRR processes on P-CNTs, opening up opportunities for the rational design of highly-active cost-effective metal-free catalysts for electrochemical ammonia synthesis.
Tsinghua University Press
Lu-Pan Yuan,Ze-Yuan Wu,Wen-Jie Jiang,Tang Tang,Shuai Niu,Jin-Song Hu, Phosphorus-doping activates carbon nanotubes for efficient electroreduction of nitrogen to ammonia. NanoRes.2020, 13(5): 1376–1382