Strategic Structure Tuning of Yolk-Shell Microcages for Efficient Nitrogen Fixation

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The electrocatalytic nitrogen reduction reaction (ENRR) under ambient conditions is considered as a promising process to produce ammonia. Towards highly efficient catalysts, here an optimized one-step pyrolysis strategy was tailored to design yolk–shell microcages (YS Co@C/BLCNTs), consisting of Co nanocrystals encapsulated in N-doped carbon framework and bridged by bamboo-like carbon nanotubes (BLCNTs). The cavity created between yolk and shell not only served as a “micro-bag” to store the reactant N and enhance its dissolution, but also induced a “cage effect” to confine the diffusion of reaction intermediate, hence making the reaction proceed in the direction of producing NH . This catalyst displayed excellent catalytic activities for ENRR: a high NH yield of 12.87 μg mg h at a high faradaic efficiency of 20.7 % at −0.45 V (vs. reversible hydrogen electrode, RHE). After 5 cycles of consecutive ENRR process, the NH yield rate was 11.29 μg mg h , indicating the excellent electrocatalytic stability. These results provide a structural engineering for ENRR catalyst with doped N, cooperating with non-precious metal to activate the inert triple bond of N and achieve NH fixation. 2 3 3 cat 3 cat 2 3 −1 −1 −1 −1

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National Natural Science Foundation of China



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