Controllable Synthesis of Defects in Catalysts for Electrocatalysis

December 19th, 2021

R&D Focus Areas:

Lead Organisation:
Griffith University

Not applicable


Start date:
February 2020

Completion date:
January 2024

Key contacts:
Nam-Trung Nguyen,

AUD$473,830 – Australian Research Council (Discovery Projects)

Project total cost:

Project summary description:
This project aims to address the most critical issue of electrocatalysis: identification of active sites for carbon-based metal free catalysts (CMFCs). Through the development of new methodologies, this proposal will, for the first time, controllably synthesise the vacancy defects that are the major active sites for CMFCs. The expected outcomes from this project include in-depth understanding of the fundamentals of electrocatalysis: the reactivity of active sites and the catalytic performance with the number of active sites, which will not only significantly advance knowledge but also achieve breakthrough technologies that greatly benefit to the society and economy both for Australia and worldwide.

Related publications and key links:

  1. Y. Han, X. Yan, Q. Wu, H. Xu, Q. Li, A. Du and X. Yao, Defect-Derived Catalysis Mechanism of Electrochemical Reactions in Two-Dimensional Carbon Materials, Small Struct., 2023, 2300036.
  2. H. Xu, Y. Han, Q. Wu, Y. Jia, Q. Li, X. Yan and X. Yao, Iridium-based electrocatalysts for the acidic oxygen evolution reaction: engineering strategies to enhance the activity and stability, Mater. Chem. Front., 2023, 7, 1248-1267.
  3. Q. Wu, Y. Jia, Q. Liu, X. Mao, Q. Guo, X. Yan, J. Zhao, F. Liu, A. Du and X. Yao, Ultra-dense carbon defects as highly active sites for oxygen reduction catalysis, Chem, 2022, 8, 2715-2733.
  4. Q. Yang, H. Liu, P. Yuan, Y. Jia, L. Zhuang, H. Zhang, X. Yan, G. Liu, Y. Zhao, J. Liu, S. Wei, L. Song, Q. Wu, B. Ge, L. Zhang, K. Wang, X. Wang, C.-R. Chang and X. Yao, Single Carbon Vacancy Traps Atomic Platinum for Hydrogen Evolution Catalysis, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2022, 144, 2171-2178.
  5. X. Yan, Y. Jia and X. Yao, Defective Structures in Metal Compounds for Energy-Related Electrocatalysis, Small Struct., 2021, 2, 2000067.
  6. Q. Wu, X. Yan, Y. Jia and X. Yao, Defective carbon-based materials: controllable synthesis and electrochemical applications, EnergyChem, 2021, 3, 100059.
  7. X. Yan, Y. Jia, K. Wang, Z. Jin, C.-L. Dong, Y.-C. Huang, J. Chen and X. Yao, Controllable synthesis of Fe–N4 species for acidic oxygen reduction, Carbon Energy, 2020, 2, 452-460.
  8. X. Yan, H. Liu, Y. Jia, L. Zhang, W. Xu, X. Wang, J. Chen, D. Yang and X. Yao, Clarifying the Origin of Oxygen Reduction Activity in Heteroatom-Modified Defective Carbon, Cell Rep. Phys. Sci., 2020, 1, 100083.
  9. X. Yan, L. Zhuang, Z. Zhu and X. Yao, Defect Engineering and Characterizations of the Active Sites for Efficient Electrocatalysis, Nanoscale, 2021, 13, 3327-3345.
  10. X. Wang, Y. Jia, X. Mao, L. Zhang, D. Liu, L. Song, X. Yan, J. Chen, D. Yang, J. Zhou, K. Wang, A. Du and X. Yao, A Directional Synthesis for Topological Defect in Carbon, Chem, 2020, 6, 2009-2023.
  11. L. Zhuang, Y. Jia, H. Liu, Z. Li, L. Zhang, X. Wang, D. Yang, Z. Zhu and X. Yao, Sulfur‐Modified Oxygen Vacancies in Iron–Cobalt Oxide Nanosheets: Enabling Extremely High Activity of the Oxygen Evolution Reaction to Achieve the Industrial Water Splitting Benchmark, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2020, 59, 14664-14670.
  12. X. Lyu, Y. Jia, X. Mao, D. Li, G. Li, L. Zhuang, X. Wang, D. Yang, Q. Wang, A. Du and X. Yao, Gradient-Concentration Design of Stable Core–Shell Nanostructure for Acidic Oxygen Reduction Electrocatalysis, 2020, 32, 2003493.
  13. X. Wang, Y. Jia, X. Mao, D. Liu, W. He, J. Li, J. Liu, X. Yan, J. Chen, L. Song, A. Du and X. Yao, Edge-Rich Fe−N4 Active Sites in Defective Carbon for Oxygen Reduction Catalysis, Adv. Mater., 2020, 32, 2000966.
  14. X. Wang, L. Zhuang, Y. Jia, L. Zhang, Q. Yang, W. Xu, D. Yang, X. Yan, L. Zhang, Z. Zhu, C. L. Brown, P. Yuan and X. Yao, One-step In-situ Synthesis of Vacancy-rich CoFe2O4@Defective Graphene Hybrids as Bifunctional Oxygen Electrocatalysts for Rechargeable Zn-Air Batteries, Chem. Res. Chin. Univ., 2020, 36, 479-487.
  15. Q. Yang, Y. Jia, F. Wei, L. Zhuang, D. Yang, J. Liu, X. Wang, S. Lin, P. Yuan and X. Yao, Understanding the Activity of Co-N4−xCx in Atomic Metal Catalysts for Oxygen Reduction Catalysis, 2020, 59, 6122-6127.

Higher degree studies supported:
Two students supported.


Updated: June 2023