Enhanced activity and stability of binuclear iron (III) phthalocyanine on graphene nanosheets for electrocatalytic oxygen reduction in acid
Binuclear iron (III) phthalocyanine (bi-FePc) and iron (III) phthalocyanine (FePc) are synthesized in situ on graphene nanosheets (GNS) by a microwave-assisted method. TEM, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy confirm that bi-FePc is supported on GNS through π-π interactions. The catalytic activity of the bi-FePc/GNS and FePc/GNS composites in the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is investigated by CV and RDE measurements. The bi-FePc/GNS composite shows a more positive onset potential (0.12 V vs. Hg/Hg2SO4) for the ORR than FePc/GNS (-0.02 V vs. Hg/Hg2SO4), and a four-electron mechanism similar to commercial Pt/C (0.22 V vs. Hg/Hg2SO4). Moreover, bi-FePc/GNS exhibits good stability with 100% retention after 36,000 s, while Pt/C has a retention of only 50% after the same period. Additionally, bi-FePc/GNS shows higher tolerance toward methanol than the Pt/C catalyst. XPS and X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy demonstrate that compared with FePc/GNS, bi-FePc/GNS possesses a higher concentration of Fe3+ and smaller skeleton radius of the phthalocyanine ring, which has a square-planar structure that evidently favors the ORR. Thus, bi-FePc/GNS is a promising candidate as a cathode catalyst in direct methanol fuel cells.