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2021
Lien, H-T, Chang Y-C, Huang C-Y, Hsu H-C, Chang S-T, Wong DP, Wang C-H, Wang C-H, Chen K-H, Chen L-C.  2021.  Solar to hydrocarbon production using metal-free water-soluble bulk heterojunction of conducting polymer nanoparticle and graphene oxide, 2021. The Journal of Chemical PhysicsThe Journal of Chemical Physics. 154(16):164707.: American Institute of Physics AbstractWebsite
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Syum, Z, Venugopal B, Sabbah A, Billo T, Chou T-chin, Wu H-L, Chen L-C, Chen K-H.  2021.  Superior lithium-ion storage performance of hierarchical tin disulfide and carbon nanotube-carbon cloth composites, 2021. Journal of Power Sources. 482:228923. AbstractWebsite

Tin-based composites are promising anode materials for high-performance lithium-ion batteries (LIBs); however, insufficient conductivity, as well as fatal volume expansion during cycling lead to poor electrochemical reversibility and cycling stability. In this work, we demonstrate the lithium-ion storage behaviors of SnS2 anode material deposited on different electrode supports. The SnS2 grown on 3D hierarchical carbon nanotube-carbon cloth composites (SnS2-CNT-CC) shows superior capacity retention and cycle stability, compared to that on planar Mo sheets and carbon cloth. The specific capacity of SnS2 on Mo, CC, and CNT-CC is around 240, 840, and 1250 g−1, respectively. The SnS2-CNT-CC electrode outperforms in the cyclic performance and rate capability compared to other electrode configurations due to the multi-electron pathway and high surface area derived from 3D hierarchical CNT-CC electrode support. Furthermore, a significant decrease in the charge transfer resistance is observed by utilizing 3D hierarchical CNT-CC electrode support. The use of 3D hierarchical structures as electrode support could be the best alternative to enhance the electrochemical performances for the next generation LIBs.

Su, T-Y, Wang T-H, Wong DP, Wang Y-C, Huang A, Sheng Y-C, Tang S-Y, Chou T-chin, Chou T-L, Jeng H-T, Chen L-C, Chen K-H, Chueh Y-L.  2021.  Thermally Strain-Induced Band Gap Opening on Platinum Diselenide-Layered Films: A Promising Two-Dimensional Material with Excellent Thermoelectric Performance, 2021. Chemistry of MaterialsChemistry of Materials. 33(10):3490-3498.: American Chemical Society AbstractWebsite
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2022
Daichakomphu, N, Abbas S, Chou T-L, Chen L-C, Chen K-H, Sakulkalavek A, Sakdanuphab R.  2022.  Understanding the effect of sputtering pressures on the thermoelectric properties of GeTe films. Journal of Alloys and Compounds. 893:162342. AbstractWebsite

In this work, we study the effect of sputtering pressures on the thermoelectric properties of GeTe films. The working pressures were differentiated from 3 to 30 mTorr, and the as-deposited films were annealed at 623 K for 10 min in Ar atmosphere. The results show that the working pressure has a significant effect on the Ge content and crystalline size. The turning trend of the Seebeck coefficient with different sputtering pressures corresponds to the Ge content. The surface morphology of annealed film will change from cracks to voids with increasing sputtering pressure. This behavior can be explained by the growth mechanisms model. The voids and relatively low crystalline size of GeTe films affect to the reduction of the electrical conductivity. In addition, the void content decreased as film thickness was increased. Therefore, controlling the working pressures in the sputtering process and film thickness is important for the thermoelectric performance of GeTe thin film. In our work, we prove that the thermoelectric properties of GeTe films could be optimized effectively by simply tuning different sputtering conditions.

Shelke, AR, Wang H-T, Chiou J-W, Shown I, Sabbah A, Chen K-H, Teng S-A, Lin I-A, Lee C-C, Hsueh H-C, Liang Y-H, Du C-H, Yadav PL, Ray SC, Hsieh S-H, Pao C-W, Tsai H-M, Chen C-H, Chen K-H, Chen L-C, Pong W-F.  2022.  Bandgap Shrinkage and Charge Transfer in 2D Layered SnS2 Doped with V for Photocatalytic Efficiency Improvement. Small. n/a:2105076., Number n/a AbstractWebsite

Abstract Effects of electronic and atomic structures of V-doped 2D layered SnS2 are studied using X-ray spectroscopy for the development of photocatalytic/photovoltaic applications. Extended X-ray absorption fine structure measurements at V K-edge reveal the presence of VO and VS bonds which form the intercalation of tetrahedral OVS sites in the van der Waals (vdW) gap of SnS2 layers. X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) reveals not only valence state of V dopant in SnS2 is ≈4+ but also the charge transfer (CT) from V to ligands, supported by V Lα,β resonant inelastic X-ray scattering. These results suggest V doping produces extra interlayer covalent interactions and additional conducting channels, which increase the electronic conductivity and CT. This gives rapid transport of photo-excited electrons and effective carrier separation in layered SnS2. Additionally, valence-band photoemission spectra and S K-edge XANES indicate that the density of states near/at valence-band maximum is shifted to lower binding energy in V-doped SnS2 compare to pristine SnS2 and exhibits band gap shrinkage. These findings support first-principles density functional theory calculations of the interstitially tetrahedral OVS site intercalated in the vdW gap, highlighting the CT from V to ligands in V-doped SnS2.

Qorbani, M, Sabbah A, Lai Y-R, Kholimatussadiah S, Quadir S, Huang C-Y, Shown I, Huang Y-F, Hayashi M, Chen K-H, Chen L-C.  2022.  Atomistic insights into highly active reconstructed edges of monolayer 2H-WSe2 photocatalyst, 2022. Nature Communications. 13(1):1256. AbstractWebsite

Ascertaining the function of in-plane intrinsic defects and edge atoms is necessary for developing efficient low-dimensional photocatalysts. We report the wireless photocatalytic CO2 reduction to CH4 over reconstructed edge atoms of monolayer 2H-WSe2 artificial leaves. Our first-principles calculations demonstrate that reconstructed and imperfect edge configurations enable CO2 binding to form linear and bent molecules. Experimental results show that the solar-to-fuel quantum efficiency is a reciprocal function of the flake size. It also indicates that the consumed electron rate per edge atom is two orders of magnitude larger than the in-plane intrinsic defects. Further, nanoscale redox mapping at the monolayer WSe2–liquid interface confirms that the edge is the most preferred region for charge transfer. Our results pave the way for designing a new class of monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides with reconstructed edges as a non-precious co-catalyst for wired or wireless hydrogen evolution or CO2 reduction reactions.

Sabbah, A, Shown I, Qorbani M, Fu F-Y, Lin T-Y, Wu H-L, Chung P-W, Wu C-I, Santiago SRM, Shen J-L, Chen K-H, Chen L-C.  2022.  Boosting photocatalytic CO2 reduction in a ZnS/ZnIn2S4 heterostructure through strain-induced direct Z-scheme and a mechanistic study of molecular CO2 interaction thereon, 2022. Nano Energy. 93:106809. AbstractWebsite

Employing direct Z-scheme semiconductor heterostructures in photocatalysis offers efficient charge carrier separation and isolation of both redox reactions, thus beneficial to reduce CO2 into solar fuels. Here, a ZnS/ZnIn2S4 heterostructure, comprising cubic ZnS nanocrystals on hexagonal ZnIn2S4 (ZIS) nanosheets, is successfully fabricated in a single-pot hydrothermal approach. The composite ZnS/ZnIn2S4 exhibits microstrain at its interface with an electric field favorable for Z-scheme. At an optimum ratio of Zn:In (~ 1:0.5), an excellent photochemical quantum efficiency of around 0.8% is reached, nearly 200-fold boost compared with pristine ZnS. Electronic levels and band alignments are deduced from ultraviolet photoemission spectroscopy and UV-Vis. Evidence of the direct Z-scheme and carrier dynamics is verified by photo-reduction experiment, along with photoluminescence (PL) and time-resolved PL. Finally, diffuse-reflectance infrared Fourier transformed spectroscopy explores the CO2 and related intermediate species adsorbed on the catalyst during the photocatalytic reaction. This microstrain-induced direct Z-scheme approach opens a new pathway for developing next-generation photocatalysts for CO2 reduction.

Fahimi, Z, Moradlou O, Sabbah A, Chen K-H, Chen L-C, Qorbani M.  2022.  Co3V2O8 hollow spheres with mesoporous walls as high-capacitance electrode for hybrid supercapacitor device, 2022. 436:135225. AbstractWebsite

Bimetal oxides are promising materials in the field of energy storage due to their various oxidation states, synergistic interactions among multiple metal species, and stability. In this work, Co3V2O8 hollow spheres are synthesized by a two-step hydrothermal method: (i) synthesis of V2O5 spheres and (ii) partial replacement of V by Co through the Kirkendall effect. As an electrode, it shows an extrinsic pseudocapacitive charge-storage mechanism due to different oxidation states of V and Co ions. Because of the low crystallinity degree of the mesoporous wall and high accessible surface area of hollow spheres, the optimum Co3V2O8 electrode reaches a high specific capacitance of 2376F g−1 at a current density of 2 A g−1, which is more than two times higher than the top reported values, and a rate capability retention of ∼80% at 20 A g−1. Using Co3V2O8, activated carbon, and KOH as positive, negative electrodes, and electrolyte, respectively, a hybrid supercapacitor device presents maximum energy and power densities of 59.2 Wh kg−1 and 36.6 kW kg−1, respectively. Further, the aqueous supercapacitor device shows superior structural and electrochemical stabilities after 10,000 galvanostatic charge–discharge cycles because of the arrays of voids in the orthorhombic crystal structure of Co3V2O8 that can decrease the volume expansion/shrinkage during the intercalation/deintercalation processes. Our results provide a platform for exploring bimetallic Co and V-based oxides, hydroxides, and sulfides nanostructures as promising energy storage materials in the future.

Bayikadi, KS, Imam S, Ubaid M, Aziz A, Chen K-H, Sankar R.  2022.  Effect of aliovalent substituted highly disordered GeTe compound's thermoelectric performance, 2022. 922:166221. AbstractWebsite

As a lead-free high-performance thermoelectric material, germanium telluride (GeTe) has recently been extensively studied for mid-temperature (500–800 K) applications. The carrier concentration and the thermal conductivity are reduced for vacancy-controlled GeTe compounds compared with pristine GeTe. We explored and optimized the Ge0.9−xSb0.1PxTe (x = 0.01–0.05) material's highest thermoelectric performance at elevated temperatures. Intrinsic Ge vacancy control and manipulation of Ge (+2) with Sb/P (+3) increased the charge contribution to power factor improvement to ∼42 µWcm−1 K−2 while minimizing the lattice thermal contribution to ∼0.4 W/mK. This resulted in an increase in thermoelectric performance of ∼2.4 @ 773 K for the Ge0.88Sb0.1P0.02Te sample. The inclusion of atomically disordered Sb/P ions considerably increases the scattering effects caused by the point defect, whereas stretched grain boundaries reveal the decreased lattice thermal contribution. The current work demonstrates the effectiveness of phosphorus as a co-dopant in increasing the average thermoelectric performance (ZTavg) value over the GeTe operating temperature range.

Valiyaveettil, SM, Nguyen D-L, Wong DP, Hsing C-R, Paradis-Fortin L, Qorbani M, Sabbah A, Chou T-L, Wu K-K, Rathinam V, Wei C-M, Chen L-C, Chen K-H.  2022.  Enhanced Thermoelectric Performance in Ternary Skutterudite Co(Ge0.5Te0.5)3 via Band Engineering, 2022. Inorganic Chemistry. : American Chemical Society AbstractWebsite

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Valiyaveettil, SM, Qorbani M, Hsing C-R, Chou T-L, Paradis-Fortin L, Sabbah A, Srivastava D, Nguyen D-L, Ho T-T, Billo T, Ganesan P, Wei C-M, Chen L-C, Chen K-H.  2022.  Enhanced thermoelectric performance of skutterudite Co1−yNiySn1.5Te1.5−x with switchable conduction behavior, 2022. Materials Today Physics. 28:100889. AbstractWebsite

A fine control of carriers in solids is the most essential thing while exploring any functionality. For a ternary skutterudite like CoSn1·5Te1.5−x, which has been recently recognized as a potential material for thermoelectric conversion, the dominant carrier could be either electrons or holes via chemically tuning the quaternary Sn2Te2 rings in the structure. Both theoretical calculation and different spectroscopic probes, such as X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) were employed to unveil the conduction type switching details. On the other hand, a Ni-for-Co substitution was applied to enhance electronic transport, and thereby the thermoelectric power factor. Thanks to the substantial cut-off of lattice thermal conductivity by the characteristic Sn2Te2 rings in the skutterudite structure, ultimately a 70-fold increase in the dimensionless figure-of-merit (zT) is achieved at 723 K with the nominal composition Co0·95Ni0·05Sn1·5Te1.5.

Venugopal, B, Syum Z, Yu S-Y, Sabbah A, Shown I, Chu C-W, Chen L-C, Lee C-H, Wu H-L, Chen K-H.  2022.  Enhancing the Areal Capacity and Stability of Cu2ZnSnS4 Anode Materials by Carbon Coating: Mechanistic and Structural Studies During Lithiation and Delithiation, 2022. ACS Omega. 7(11):9152-9163.: American Chemical Society AbstractWebsite

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Ho, T-T, Jokar E, Quadir S, Chen R-S, Liu F-C, Cheng-YingChen, Chen K-H, Chen L-C.  2022.  Enhancing the photovoltaic properties of SnS-Based solar cells by crystallographic orientation engineering, 2022. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells. 236:111499. AbstractWebsite

Tin monosulfide (SnS) is a promising light-harvesting material for solar cell applications, owing to its potential for large-scale production, cost-effectiveness, eco-friendly source materials, and long-term stability. However, SnS crystallizes in an orthorhombic structure, which results in a highly anisotropic charge transport behavior. Tailoring the crystallographic orientation of the SnS absorber layer plays a critical role in the enhancement of the transfer of charge carriers and the power conversion efficiency (PCE). By controlling the substrate tilting angle and temperature ramp rate in vapor transport deposition, the crystal growth orientation was tuned to a preferred direction which significantly suppressed the unfavorable (040) crystallographic plane. Through the combination of these two approaches, the PCE could be increased from 0.11% to 2%. The effect of the tilting angle was numerically simulated to investigate its role in controlling the film uniformity and directing the film growth. In addition, the correlation between the texture coefficient of the (040) plane and the charge transport properties was determined by a combination of analytical methods such as device performance studies, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, along with transient photovoltage, space-charge-limited current, and dark current measurements. These techniques were blended together to prove that the marked improvement in PCE can be ascribed to a reduced charge recombination (in both SnS bulk and interfaces) and an enhanced hole mobility.

Ho, T-T, Yang Z-L, Fu F-Y, Jokar E, Hsu H-C, Liu P-C, Quadir S, Cheng-YingChen, Chiu Y-P, Wu C-I, Chen K-H, Chen L-C.  2022.  Modulation and Direct Mapping of the Interfacial Band Alignment of an Eco-Friendly Zinc-Tin-Oxide Buffer Layer in SnS Solar Cells, 2022. ACS Applied Energy MaterialsACS Applied Energy Materials. 5(11):14531-14540.: American Chemical Society AbstractWebsite
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Fu, F-Y, Fan C-C, Qorbani M, Huang C-Y, Kuo P-C, Hwang J-S, Shu G-J, Chang S-M, Wu H-L, Wu C-I, Chen K-H, Chen L-C.  2022.  Selective CO2-to-CO photoreduction over an orthophosphate semiconductor via the direct Z-scheme heterojunction of Ag3PO4 quantum dots decorated on SnS2 nanosheets, 2022. Sustainable Energy & Fuels. 6(19):4418-4428.: The Royal Society of Chemistry AbstractWebsite

Direct Z-scheme heterojunctions are widely used for photocatalytic water splitting and CO2 reduction due to facilitating well-separated photogenerated charge carriers and spatial isolation of redox reactions. Here, using a facile two-step hydrothermal and ion-exchange method, we uniformly decorate silver orthophosphate (i.e., Ag3PO4) quantum dots with an average characteristic size of ∼10 nm over tin(iv) sulphide (i.e., SnS2) nanosheets to form a 0D/2D heterojunction. The direct Z-scheme mechanism, i.e. charge transport for efficient electron (from SnS2) and hole (from Ag3PO4) recombination, is confirmed by the following experiments: (i) ultraviolet and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopies; (ii) photodeposition of Pt and PbO2 nanoparticles on reduction and oxidation sites, respectively; (iii) in situ X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy; and (iv) electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. Owing to the photoreduction properties of Ag3PO4 with orthophosphate vacancies, Z-scheme charge carrier transfer, and efficient exciton dissociation, an optimized heterojunction shows a high CO2-to-CO reduction yield of 18.3 μmol g−1 h−1 with an illustrious selectivity of ∼95% under light illumination, which is about 3.0 and 47.8 times larger than that of Ag3PO4 and SnS2, respectively. The carbon source for the CO product is verified using a 13CO2 isotopic experiment. Moreover, by tracing the peak at ∼1190 cm−1 in the dark and under light irradiation, in situ diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy demonstrates that the CO2 reduction pathway goes through the COOH* intermediate.

Quadir, S, Qorbani M, Sabbah A, Wu T-S, kumar Anbalagan A, Chen W-T, Valiyaveettil SM, Thong H-T, Wang C-W, Cheng-YingChen, Lee C-H, Chen K-H, Chen L-C.  2022.  Short- and Long-Range Cation Disorder in (AgxCu1–x)2ZnSnSe4 Kesterites, 2022. Chemistry of Materials. : American Chemical Society AbstractWebsite

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Yang, M-J, Yusuf Fakhri M, Liao C-N, Chen K-H.  2022.  Synthesis and characterization of Ge-Ag-Sb-S-Se-Te high-entropy thermoelectric alloys, 2022. 311:131617. AbstractWebsite

Multielement alloying is an appealing approach for suppressing thermal conductivity of thermoelectric materials. In this study, we synthesized GeTe-based high-entropy alloys with notable (S, Se) substitution at Te sites and (Ag, Sb) at Ge sites. The Ge0.82Ag0.08Sb0.1S0.5Se0.1Te0.4 exhibits an extremely low thermal conductivity of ∼ 0.66 W/m⋅K and a high Seebeck coefficient (>250 μV/K) over a temperature range of 150 – 400 °C. The influence of lattice distortion on phase transformation and transport properties of Ge0.9-2xAg2xSb0.1S0.5Se0.1Te0.4 (x = 0 – 0.06) was investigated.

Fathabadi, M, Qorbani M, Sabbah A, Quadir S, Huang C-Y, Chen KH, Chen L-C, Naseri N.  2022.  Ultrathin amorphous defective co-doped hematite passivation layer derived via in-situ electrochemical method for durable photoelectrochemical water oxidation, 2022. Journal of Materials Chemistry A. :-.: The Royal Society of Chemistry AbstractWebsite

Although hematite (i.e., α-Fe2O3) has been widely investigated in photoelectrochemical water oxidation studies due to its high theoretical photocurrent density, it still suffers from serious surface charge recombination and low photoelectrochemical stability. Here we report an in-situ electrochemical method to form a uniform and ultrathin (i.e., 3–5 nm) passivation layer all over the porosities of the optimized ~3.2% Ti-doped α-Fe2O3 photoanode. We unveil the amorphous and defective nature of the in-situ derived layer assigning to a high concentration of oxygen vacancy and intercalated potassium atoms there, i.e., the formation of Ti/K co-doped defective α-Fe2O3-x. Owing to the efficient passivation of surface states, alleviated surface-potential fluctuations, and low charge-transfer resistance at the interface, photoanodes show an average of ~60% enhancement in the photoelectrochemical performance, applied bias absorbed photon-to-current efficiency of 0.43%, and Faradaic efficiency of ~88%. Moreover, the passivation layer prevents direct contact between the electrode material and electrolyte, resulting in less degradation and outstanding photoelectrochemical stability with photocurrent retention of ~95% after ~100 hours, albeit by performing several successive in-situ electrochemical passivation processes. This work presents an industrially scalable method to controllably engineer the interfaces of semiconductors–electrolytes with precious metal-free defective hematite-based co-catalysts for sustainable photoelectrochemical solar-to-fuel conversion applications.

2023
Sabhapathy, P, Raghunath P, Sabbah A, Shown I, Bayikadi KS, Xie R-K, Krishnamoorthy V, Lin M-C, Chen K-H, Chen L-C.  2023.  Axial Chlorine Induced Electron Delocalization in Atomically Dispersed FeN4 Electrocatalyst for Oxygen Reduction Reaction with Improved Hydrogen Peroxide Tolerance, 2023. Small. :2303598.: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd AbstractWebsite

Abstract Atomically dispersed iron sites on nitrogen-doped carbon (Fe-NC) are the most active Pt-group-metal-free catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). However, due to oxidative corrosion and the Fenton reaction, Fe-NC catalysts are insufficiently active and stable. Herein, w e demonstrated that the axial Cl-modified Fe-NC (Cl-Fe-NC) electrocatalyst is active and stable for the ORR in acidic conditions with high H2O2 tolerance. The Cl-Fe-NC exhibits excellent ORR activity, with a high half-wave potential (E1/2) of 0.82 V versus a reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE), comparable to Pt/C (E1/2 = 0.85 V versus RHE) and better than Fe-NC (E1/2 = 0.79 V versus RHE). X-ray absorption spectroscopy analysis confirms that chlorine is axially integrated into the FeN4. More interestingly, compared to Fe-NC, the Fenton reaction is markedly suppressed in Cl-Fe-NC. In situ electrochemical impedance spectroscopy reveals that Cl-Fe-NC provides efficient electron transfer and faster reaction kinetics than Fe-NC. Density functional theory calculations reveal that incorporating Cl into FeN4 can drive the electron density delocalization of the FeN4 site, leading to a moderate adsorption free energy of OH* (?GOH*), d-band center, and a high onset potential, and promotes the direct four-electron-transfer ORR with weak H2O2 binding ability compared to Cl-free FeN4, indicating superior intrinsic ORR activity.

Syum, Z, Billo T, Sabbah A, kumar Anbalagan A, Quadir S, Hailemariam AG, Sabhapathy P, Lee C-H, Wu H-L, Chen L-C, Chen K-H.  2023.  Enhancing the lithium-ion storage capability of Cu2ZnSnS4 anodes via a nitrogen-doped conductive support, 2023. Chemical Engineering Journal. 465:142786. AbstractWebsite

Achieving lithium-ion batteries with both excellent electrochemical performance and cycling stability is a top priority for their real-world applications. This work reports high-performance and stable Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) anode materials encapsulated by nitrogen-doped carbon (CZTS@N-C) for advanced lithium-ion battery application. Ex-situ X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy revealed that the nitrogen-doped carbon network features a more conducive solid-electrolyte interphase that enables lower charge-transfer resistance and fast Li+ diffusion kinetics with negligible initial irreversible capacity loss. As a result, the CZTS@N-C electrode delivers a significantly enhanced capacity of 710 mAh g−1 with 73% capacity retention after 220 cycles at a current rate of 0.5 mA g−1 and superior rate performance compared to that of unmodified CZTS. Additionally, the study sheds light on the fast lithiation dynamics chemistry of CZTS@N-C through kinetics analysis, explored by in-situ Raman, ex-situ X-ray absorption, and in-situ electrochemical impedance. This study provides a new approach for fabricating high-performance, durable conductive polymer-encapsulated low-cost transition-metal-sulfide anode materials.

Muthusamy, S, Sabhapathy P, Raghunath P, Sabbah A, Chang Y-C, Krishnamoorthy V, Ho T-T, Chiou J-W, Lin M-C, Chen L-C, Chen K-H.  2023.  Mimicking Metalloenzyme Microenvironments in the Transition Metal-Single Atom Catalysts for Electrochemical Hydrogen Peroxide Synthesis in an Acidic Medium, 2023. Small Methods. :2300234.: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd AbstractWebsite

Abstract Electrochemical reduction of oxygen into hydrogen peroxide in an acidic medium offers an energy-efficient and green H2O2 synthesis as an alternative to the energy-intensive anthraquinone process. Unfortunately, high overpotential, low production rates, and fierce competition from traditional four-electron reduction limit it. In this study, a metalloenzyme-like active structure is mimicked in carbon-based single-atom electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction to H2O2. Using a carbonization strategy, the primary electronic structure of the metal center with nitrogen and oxygen coordination is modulated, followed by epoxy oxygen functionalities close to the metal active sites. In an acidic medium, CoNOC active structures proceed with greater than 98% H2O2 selectivity (2e?/2H+) rather than CoNC active sites that are selective to H2O (4e?/4H+). Among all MNOC (M = Fe, Co, Mn, and Ni) single-atom electrocatalysts, the CoNOC is the most selective (> 98%) for H2O2 production, with a mass activity of 10 A g?1 at 0.60 V vs. RHE. X-ray absorption spectroscopy is used to identify the formation of unsymmetrical MNOC active structures. Experimental results are also compared to density functional theory calculations, which revealed that the structure-activity relationship of the epoxy-surrounded CoNOC active structure reaches optimum (?G*OOH) binding energies for high selectivity.

Muthusamy, S, Sabbah A, Sabhapathy P, Chang Y-C, Billo T, Syum Z, Chen L-C, Chen K-H.  2023.  Modification of Conductive Carbon with N-Coordinated Fe−Co Dual-Metal Sites for Oxygen Reduction Reaction, 2023. ChemElectroChem. n/a(n/a):e202300272.: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd AbstractWebsite

Abstract Earth-abundant commercial conductive carbon materials are ideal electrocatalyst supports but cannot be directly utilized for single-atom catalysts owing to the lack of anchoring sites. Therefore, we employed crosslink polymerization to modify the conductive carbon surface with Fe?Co dual-site electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). First, metal-coordinated polyurea (PU) aerogels were prepared using via crosslinked polymerization at ambient temperature. Then, carbon-supported, atomically dispersed Fe?Co dual-atom sites (FeCoNC/BP) were formed by high-temperatures pyrolysis with a nitrogen source. FTIR and 13C NMR measurements showed PU linkages, while 15N NMR revealed metal?nitrogen coordination in the PU gels. Asymmetric, N-coordinated, and isolated Fe?Co active structures were found after pyrolysis using XAS and STEM. In alkaline media, FeCoNC/BP exhibited excellent ORR activity, with a E1/2 of 0.93?V vs. RHE, higher than that of Pt/C (20?%) (0.90?V), FeNC/BP (0.88?V), and CoNC/BP (0.85?V). An accelerated durability test (ADT) on FeCoNC/BP indicated good durability over 35000 cycles. FeCoNC/BP also showed moderate ORR and ADT performance in acidic media. The macro/mesoporous N-doped carbon structures enhanced the mass transport properties of the dual Fe?Co active-sites. Therefore, modifying carbon supports with nonprecious metal catalysts may be a cost-effective-strategy for sustained electrochemical energy conversion.

Kamal Hussien, M, Sabbah A, Qorbani M, Hammad Elsayed M, Quadir S, Raghunath P, Tzou D-LM, Haw S-C, Chou H-H, Thang NQ, Lin M-C, Chen L-C, Chen K-H.  2023.  Numerous defects induced by exfoliation of boron-doped g-C3N4 towards active sites modulation for highly efficient solar-to-fuel conversion, 2023. Materials Today Sustainability. 22:100359. AbstractWebsite

Graphitic carbon nitride (CN) has emerged as a highly promising material in the photocatalysis field. However, its bulk structure suffers from a lack of active sites, limiting its practical application. Herein, a boron-doped CN (BCN) was prepared by a green gas-blowing-assisted thermal polymerization and then subjected to different exfoliation processes in order to delaminate the layered structure and tune the surface-active sites. A thorough comparative study shows that thermal exfoliation creates unsaturated nitrogen sites and induces the formation of interconnected layers that act as an electron diffusion channel for better charge transport. Furthermore, the thermally exfoliated BCN is rich in structural disorders that serve as dissociation defects for photoinduced charge carriers with a low exciton binding energy of 27 meV. Experimental results supported by theoretical calculations show that the nitrogen adjacent to boron is activated by the surrounding surface amino groups and the perforated texture to serve as an active adsorption site towards CO2 and H2O. Consequently, the exfoliated BCN acts as an outstanding bifunctional photocatalyst towards CO2 reduction into CO (40.41 μmol g−1 h−1) and prominent hydrogen evolution (4740 μmol g−1 h−1, 12.2% apparent quantum yield (AQY)).

2024
Hammad Elsayed, M, Abdellah M, Alhakemy AZ, Mekhemer IMA, Aboubakr AEA, Chen B-H, Sabbah A, Lin K-H, Chiu W-S, Lin S-J, Chu C-Y, Lu C-H, Yang S-D, Mohamed MG, Kuo S-W, Hung C-H, Chen L-C, Chen K-H, Chou H-H.  2024.  Overcoming small-bandgap charge recombination in visible and NIR-light-driven hydrogen evolution by engineering the polymer photocatalyst structure, 2024. 15(1):707. AbstractWebsite

Designing an organic polymer photocatalyst for efficient hydrogen evolution with visible and near-infrared (NIR) light activity is still a major challenge. Unlike the common behavior of gradually increasing the charge recombination while shrinking the bandgap, we present here a series of polymer nanoparticles (Pdots) based on ITIC and BTIC units with different π-linkers between the acceptor-donor-acceptor (A-D-A) repeated moieties of the polymer. These polymers act as an efficient single polymer photocatalyst for H2 evolution under both visible and NIR light, without combining or hybridizing with other materials. Importantly, the difluorothiophene (ThF) π-linker facilitates the charge transfer between acceptors of different repeated moieties (A-D-A-(π-Linker)-A-D-A), leading to the enhancement of charge separation between D and A. As a result, the PITIC-ThF Pdots exhibit superior hydrogen evolution rates of 279 µmol/h and 20.5 µmol/h with visible (>420 nm) and NIR (>780 nm) light irradiation, respectively. Furthermore, PITIC-ThF Pdots exhibit a promising apparent quantum yield (AQY) at 700 nm (4.76%).

Krishnamoorthy, V, Sabhapathy P, Raghunath P, Huang C-Y, Sabbah A, Kamal Hussien M, Syum Z, Muthusamy S, Lin M-C, Wu H-L, Chen R-S, Chen K-H, Chen L-C.  2024.  Synergistic Electronic Interaction of Nitrogen Coordinated Fe-Sn Double-Atom Sites: An Efficient Electrocatalyst for Oxygen Reduction Reaction, 2024. Small MethodsSmall Methods. n/a(n/a):2301674.: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd AbstractWebsite

Abstract Double-atom site catalysts (DASs) have emerged as a recent trend in the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), thereby modifying the intermediate adsorption energies and increasing the activity. However, the lack of an efficient dual atom site to improve activity and durability has limited these catalysts from widespread application. Herein, the nitrogen-coordinated iron and tin-based DASs (Fe-Sn-N/C) catalyst are synthesized for ORR. This catalyst has a high activity with ORR half-wave potentials (E1/2) of 0.92 V in alkaline, which is higher than those of the state-of-the-art Pt/C (E1/2 = 0.83 V), Fe-N/C (E1/2 = 0.83 V), and Sn-N/C (E1/2 = 0.77 V). Scanning electron transmission microscopy analysis confirmed the atomically distributed Fe and Sn sites on the N-doped carbon network. X-ray absorption spectroscopy analysis revealed the charge transfer between Fe and Sn. Both experimental and theoretical results indicate that the Sn with Fe-NC (Fe-Sn-N/C) induces charge redistribution, weakening the binding strength of oxygenated intermediates and leading to improved ORR activity. This study provides the synergistic effects of DASs catalysts and addresses the impacts of P-block elements on d-block transition metals in ORR.