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Nano Lett. 2019 Aug 14;19(8):5423-5430. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b01925. Epub 2019 Aug 1.

Tailoring the Assembly of Iron Nanoparticles in Carbon Microspheres toward High-Performance Electrocatalytic Denitrification.

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State Key Laboratory for Modification of Chemical Fibers and Polymer Materials, College of Materials Science and Engineering , Donghua University , Shanghai 201620 , China.
Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Molecular Catalysis and Innovative Materials, and Department of Chemistry , Fudan University , Shanghai 200433 , China.


Electrocatalytic denitrification is considered as the most promising technology to transform nitrates to nitrogen gas in sewage so far. Although noble metal-based catalysts as a cathode material have reached decent removal capacity of nitrate, the high cost is the main hamper of electrocatalytic reduction. Therefore, the development of alternative catalysis toward highly effective denitrification is imperative yet still remains a significant challenge. Herein, a corchorifolius-like structure, where Fe nanoparticles are sealed in carbon microspheres (CL-Fe@C) with a rough surface, has been elaborately designed by self-assemble strategy. Impressively, the architectured CL-Fe@C microspheres are surrounded with a lot of small iron nanoparticles and contain the high iron content of ∼74%. As a result, an excellent removal capacity of 1816 mg N/g Fe and a high nitrogen selectivity of 98% under a very low nitrate concentration of 100 mg/L are achieved when using the CL-Fe@C microspheres as electrocatalytic denitrification. The present work not only explores high performance electrocatalysis for the denitrification but also promote new inspiration for the preparation of other iron-based functional materials for diverse applications.


Iron nanoparticles; carbon coating; core−shell structure; electrocatalytic denitrification; self-assembly approach

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