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Small. 2012 Jan 9;8(1):13-27. doi: 10.1002/smll.201101573. Epub 2011 Oct 4.

Solution-based synthesis and design of late transition metal chalcogenide materials for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR).

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Division of Nanomaterials & Chemistry, Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, Department of Chemistry, National Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, P.R. China.


Late transition metal chalcogenide (LTMC) nanomaterials have been introduced as a promising Pt-free oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) electrocatalysts because of their low cost, good ORR activity, high methanol tolerance, and facile synthesis. Herein, an overview on the design and synthesis of LTMC nanomaterials by solution-based strategies is presented along with their ORR performances. Current solution-based synthetic approaches towards LTMC nanomaterials include a hydrothermal/solvothermal approach, single-source precursor approach, hot-injection approach, template-directed soft synthesis, and Kirkendall-effect-induced soft synthesis. Although the ORR activity and stability of LTMC nanomaterials are still far from what is needed for practical fuel-cell applications, much enhanced electrocatalytic performance can be expected. Recent advances have emphasized that decorating the surface of the LTMC nanostructures with other functional nanoparticles can lead to much better ORR catalytic activity. It is believed that new synthesis approaches to LTMCs, modification techniques of LTMCs, and LTMCs with desirable morphology, size, composition, and structures are expected to be developed in the future to satisfy the requirements of commercial fuel cells.

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