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Ambient Electrosynthesis of Ammonia Using Core–Shell Structured Au@C Catalyst Fabricated by One-Step Laser Ablation Technique

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journal contribution
posted on 18.11.2019 by Wenyi Li, Chao Zhang, Miaomiao Han, Yixing Ye, Shengbo Zhang, Yanyan Liu, Guozhong Wang, Changhao Liang, Haimin Zhang
This work reports the synthesis of core–shell structured Au@C composite through a simple one-step laser ablation technique. The results demonstrate that the Au@C with a mean nanosphere size of ∼8.0 nm is composed of a spherical shaped Au core and 1–2 layered graphitic carbon shell with abundant defects. As a nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR) electrocatalyst, the Au@C gives a large NH3 yield rate of 241.9 μg h–1 mgcat.–1 with a high faradaic efficiency of 40.5% at −0.45 V versus reversible hydrogen electrode in a 0.1 M Na2SO4 electrolyte (pH = 6.3) under ambient conditions, surpassing the performances of most aqueous-based NRR electrocatalysts recently reported. The 15N labeling experimental results demonstrate that the produced NH3 is undoubtedly originated from the NRR process catalyzed by Au@C. The superior NRR performance of Au@C can be ascribed to the ultrathin carbon layer, effectively inhibiting the aggregation of Au nanospheres during the NRR, and the abundant defects such as carbon vacancies existed in the ultrathin carbon layer, providing additional NRR catalytic active sites. Our theoretical calculation results further confirm the role of carbon vacancies in the electrocatalytic NRR.