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Defect Regulating of Few-Layer Antimonene from Acid-Assisted Exfoliation for Enhanced Electrocatalytic Nitrogen Fixation

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-08-20, 22:04 authored by Shihai Cao, Yuntong Sun, Shiying Guo, Zichang Guo, Yanchao Feng, Sheng Chen, Huan Chen, Shengli Zhang, Fang Jiang
Nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR), as a green and sustainable technology, is far from a practical application due to the lack of efficient electrocatalysts. In this work, we found that antimonene, a group-VA elemental two-dimensional (2D) material, is attractive as an electrocatalyst for NRR. The antimonene here is acquired through chemical exfoliation of antimony (Sb) using H2SO4 for the first time, which simultaneously achieved efficient large-sized exfoliation and created a high density of active edge sites. Moreover, the concentration of defects shows a gradual increasing tendency as the treatment time extends. The obtained antimonene exhibited favorable average ammonia (NH3) yield and Faradaic efficiency as high as 2.08 μg h–1 cm–2 and 14.25% at −0.7 V versus RHE, respectively. Density functional theory calculations prove that the sufficient exposure of edge defects is favorable for reducing the reaction barrier and strengthening the interaction between antimonene and the intermediates of NRR, thus increasing the selectivity and yield rate of NH3. The chemical exfoliation of Sb reported here offers an alternative avenue to engineer the surface structures of group-VA elemental-based catalysts. Investigation of NRR using 2D antimonene can further provide deep insight into the mechanism and principle of NRR over group-VA elemental nanosheets.