Highly Dispersed NiO Clusters Induced Electron Delocalization of Ni-N-C Catalysts for Enhanced CO2 Electroreduction

Hongqiang Li, Kaining Gan, Ran Li, Huawei Huang, Jiabao Niu, Zhipeng Chen, Jian Zhou, Yan Yu, Jieshan Qiu*, Xiaojun He*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Oxygen-regulated Ni-based single-atom catalysts (SACs) show great potential in accelerating the kinetics of electrocatalytic CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR). However, it remains a challenge to precisely control the coordination environment of NiO moieties and achieve high activity at high overpotentials. Herein, a facile carbonization coupled oxidation strategy is developed to mass produce NiO clusters-decorated NiNC SACs that exhibit a high Faradaic efficiency of CO (maximum of 96.5%) over a wide potential range (−0.9 to −1.3 V versus reversible hydrogen electrode) and a high turnover frequency for CO production of 10 120 h−1 even at the high overpotential of 1.19 V. Density functional theory calculations reveal that the highly dispersed NiO clusters induce electron delocalization of active sites and reduce the energy barriers for *COOH intermediates formation from CO2, leading to an enhanced reaction kinetics for CO production. This study opens a new universal pathway for the construction of oxygen-regulated metal-based SACs for various catalytic applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2208622
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 3 2023


  • CO electroreductions
  • coal tar pitch
  • electron delocalizations
  • Ni single-atom catalysts
  • NiO clusters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomaterials
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrochemistry


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