• activation effect;
  • electrocatalysis;
  • graphitic carbon;
  • reduction;
  • sulfur


Oxidized sulfur and nitrogen co-doped graphitic carbon (SN-G) was one-step synthesized simply by annealing a solid mixture of D-glucosamine hydrochloride, melamine, and trithiocyanuric acid. By tailoring the additive dosage and the pyrolysis temperature, correlations between the structure, composition, and electrochemical performance of SN-G were systematically elucidated. To our excitement, the SN3-G sample pyrolyzed at 900 °C with a dominant oxidized sulfur content exhibited striking electrocatalytic activity in alkaline medium, which was free from the crossover effect, and its long-term durability was superior to that of commercial Pt/C (20 wt %). Furthermore, oxidized sulfur that was reported to be chemically inactive for the ORR was proven to be active, which was supported by both experimental results and density functional theory calculations.