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Journal Article

Highly Efficient Metal-Free Nitrogen-Doped Nanocarbons with Unexpected Active Sites for Aerobic Catalytic Reactions


Su,  Dang Sheng
Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences;
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Lin, Y., Liu, Z., Niu, Y., Zhang, B., Lu, Q., Wu, S., et al. (2019). Highly Efficient Metal-Free Nitrogen-Doped Nanocarbons with Unexpected Active Sites for Aerobic Catalytic Reactions. ACS Nano. doi:10.1021/acsnano.9b05856.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-4E71-5
Nitrogen (N)-doped nanocarbons (NDN) as metal-free catalysts have elicited considerable attention toward selective oxidation of alcohols with easily oxidizable groups to aldehydes in the past few years. However, finding a new NDN catalytic material that can meet the requirement of the feasibility on the aerobic catalytic for other complicated alcohols is a big challenge. The real active sites and the corresponding mechanisms on NDN are still unambiguous because of inevitable coexistence of diverse edge sites and N species based on recently reported doping methods. Here, four NDN catalysts with enriched pyridinic N species and without any graphitic N species are simply fabricated via a CVD-like method. The results of XPS and x-ray absorption near edge structure spectra suggest that the dominating N species on NDN are pyridinic N. It is demonstrated that NDN catalysts perform impressive reactivity for aerobic oxidation of complicated alcohols at an atmospheric pressure. Eleven kinds of aromatic molecules with single N species and tunable π conjugation systems are used as model catalysts to experimentally identify the actual role of each N species at a real molecular level. It is suggested that pyridinic N species play an unexpected role in catalytic reactions. Neighbored carbon atoms in pyridinic N species are responsible for facilitating the rate-determining step process clarified by kinetic isotope effects, in situ NMR, in situ ATR-IR and theoretical calculation. Moreover, NDN catalysts exhibit a good catalytic feasibility on the synthesis of important natural products (e.g. intermediates of vitamin E and K3) from phenol oxidation.