Research News

Paper on electrocatalysis published in top journal by Professor Ren Xiangzhong and his research group

Recently, Professor Ren Xiangzhong and his research group from the School of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Shenzhen University published a research article entitled “Rational Design of Positive-Hexagon-Shaped Two-Dimensional ZIF-derived Materials as Improved Bifunctional Oxygen Electrocatalysts for Use as Long-Lasting Rechargeable Zn–Air Batteries” in international top journal Applied Catalysis B: Environmental (JCR Q1, impact factor 14.229). Guan Yi, a master student from the research group, is the first author of the paper. Professor Ren Xiangzhong and Associate Professor Li Yongliang are the corresponding authors.

In the paper, a bottom-up method, i.e., a surfactant-assisted synthetic method to synthesize a novel dual-metal (Co/Zn) zeolitic-imidazolate framework (ZIF) that could maintain its positive-hexagon-shaped morphology after high-temperature thermal treatment, has been developed. As a bifunctional electrocatalyst, the Co nanoparticles encapsulated into both nitrogen-doped positive-hexagon-shaped carbon nanosheets and carbon nanotubes distributed over the nanosheet surface (Co-N-PHCNTs) show excellent electrocatalytic performance, superior to that of state-of-the-art benchmark noble-metal electrocatalysts. Remarkably, in a practical demonstration, the Co-N-PHCNTs serve as bifunctional air electrodes for Zn–air batteries, exhibiting a high peak power density of≈125.41 mW cm−2 at a current density of≈130 mA cm−2 with an extraordinary charge-discharge cyclability of over 673 h at 5 mA cm−2. This strategy not only provides guidance for the synthesis of 2D ZIF-derived materials but also for other 2D materials in cross-cutting applications.

The work was supported by the National Natural Science Fund and the Science and Technology Innovation Commission of Shenzhen.

Link to the paper: