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Review Article

Rational design of Fe-N-C electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reaction: From nanoparticles to single atoms

Mengru Sun1Changli Chen1Menghao Wu1Danni Zhou1Zhiyi Sun1Jianling Fan2( )Wenxing Chen1( )Yujing Li1( )
Beijing Key Laboratory of Construction Tailorable Advanced Functional Materials and Green Applications, Experimental Center of Advanced Materials, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China
Department of Physics and Engineering Technology, Guilin Normal College, Guilin 541199, China
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Graphical Abstract


As an alternative energy, hydrogen can be converted into electrical energy via direct electrochemical conversion in fuel cells. One important drawback of full cells is the sluggish oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) promoted by the high-loading of platinum-group-metal (PGM) electrocatalysts. Fe-N-C family has been received extensive attention because of its low cost, long service life and high oxygen reduction reaction activity in recent years. In order to further enhance the ORR activity, the synthesis method, morphology regulation and catalytic mechanism of the active sites in Fe-N-C catalysts are investigated. This paper reviews the research progress of Fe-N-C from nanoparticles to single atoms. The structure-activity relationship and catalytic mechanism of the catalyst are studied and discussed, which provide a guidance for rational design of the catalyst, so as to promote the more reasonable design of Fe-N-C materials.

Nano Research
Pages 1753-1778
Cite this article:
Sun M, Chen C, Wu M, et al. Rational design of Fe-N-C electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reaction: From nanoparticles to single atoms. Nano Research, 2022, 15(3): 1753-1778.






Web of Science






Received: 03 July 2021
Revised: 12 August 2021
Accepted: 18 August 2021
Published: 18 September 2021
© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2021