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School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Yue Xu


PhD student



Project title: Understanding the roll of different types of nitrogen sites in oxygen reduction electrocatalysis

Summary: Oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is the key process of the proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). Nitrogen-doped carbon material is an ideal solution to replace Pt of the cathode of PEMFC with other cheap materials and to promote the reactivity at the same time. However it is not yet clear what role each type of nitrogen atoms plays in ORR.

In this project, we aim to design and synthesize structure-controlled N composition (e.g. pyridine, pyrrole ect.) and then apply those chemicals to carbon materials. The structures will be characterized and the electrocatalysis performance will be tested. Finally, we will correlate the performance and with each specific chemical structure, to fully elucidate the mechanisms of N atoms in carbon-based nanomaterials.