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Keywords:

  • CO tolerance;
  • fuel crossover;
  • mesopore confinement;
  • nitrogen-doped carbon;
  • oxygen reduction reaction

Electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) present some of the most challenging vulnerability issues reducing ORR performance and shortening their practical lifetime. Fuel crossover resistance, selective activity, and catalytic stability of ORR catalysts are still to be addressed. Here, a facile and in situ template-free synthesis of Pt-containing mesoporous nitrogen-doped carbon composites (Pt-m-N-C) is designed and specifically developed to overcome its drawback as an electrocatalyst for ORR, while its high activity is sustained. The as-prepared Pt-m-N-C catalyst exhibits high electrocatalytic activity, dominant four-electron oxygen reduction pathway, superior stability, fuel crossover resistance, and selective activity to a commercial Pt/C catalyst in 0.1 m KOH aqueous solution. Such excellent performance benefits from in situ covalent incorporation of Pt nanoparticles with optimal size into N-doped carbon support, dense active catalytic sites on surface, excellent electrical contacts between the catalytic sites and the electron-conducting host, and a favorable mesoporous structure for the stabilization of the Pt nanoparticles by pore confinement and diffusion of oxygen molecules.