Supramolecule combination of fullerene and metalloporphyrin

This graphic illustrates a zinc-air battery can using a fullerene-metalloporphyrin co-crystal as an oxygen reduction reaction catalyst.
Credit: Carbon Future, Tsinghua University Press

…improves zinc-air battery function.

Zinc-air batteries are an inexpensive, powerful battery alternative that can be used on the small scale to power electronics or on the large scale for electric vehicles or energy storage. These batteries work when oxygen from the air oxidizes zinc, but the difficulty in oxygen activation which degrades battery performance has prevented their wide commercial adoption.

Information presented in a paper published in Carbon Future on 26 February shows how the addition of fullerene-derived carbon materials as catalysts can improve performance, stability, and cost of zinc-air batteries.

“The sluggish kinetic characteristics caused by the difficulty in oxygen activation, oxygen to oxygen bond cleavage, and oxide removal of oxygen reduction in zinc-air batteries have limited their application in the commercial field,” said Fang-Fang Li, a professor at the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China. “Carbon-based non-noble metallic catalysts have been regarded as promising materials for oxygen reduction reaction due to their large surface areas, high electrical conductivity, outstanding mechanical properties, and excellent stability in electrochemical environments.”

Fullerene is an allotrope of carbon with a closed cage structure in the shape of a soccer ball. Pure fullerene has insufficient conductivity that limits electron transfer, but crystals derived from fullerene have an improved specific surface area, conductivity, and active sites. Fullerene crystals are created through a process called liquid-liquid interface precipitation. During this process, fullerene is dissolved in two different solvents and crystals are formed at the interface of the two liquids.

Researchers then created a supramolecule combining fullerene crystals with metalloporphyrin, a molecule with a unique structure. They created four versions of this supramolecule to try and optimize it to the best performance. Three were heated to different temperatures (700°C, 800°C, and 900°C) and then the final sample was also heated to 800°C, but mixed differently from the other samples without the liquid-liquid interface precipitation method.

Before testing the performance of the fullerene-metalloporphyrin supramolecule, researchers studied the structural features of the sample through scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, and additional measurements. They found that the liquid-liquid interface precipitation method increased defects, which improved the performance of the oxygen reduction reaction. They also consistently found that the supramolecule that was heated to 800°C performed better than the others that were tested over the course of the experiment and they moved forward with testing this supramolecule in a practical application.

To test the performance of the fullerene-metalloporphyrin supramolecule, researchers built a homemade zinc-air battery, using the fullerene-metalloporphyrin as the cathode. “The results highlight the exceptional long-term stability exhibited by fullerene-metalloporphyrin. The optimized zinc-air battery performance of fullerene-metalloporphyrin underscores the robust and enduring electrocatalytic performance of the supramolecule. This combination of high power density and extended stability positions fullerene-metalloporphyrin derived carbon material as a highly promising catalyst for practical applications of zinc-air batteries,” said Li.

Other contributors include Ao Yu, Qi Huang, Shixin Gao, Tingting Xu, and Ping Peng at Huazhong University of Science and Technology and Wei Zhang, Nimanyu Joshi, and Yang Yang at University of Central Florida.

The National Natural Science Foundation of China supported this research.

About Carbon Future

Carbon Future is an open access, peer-reviewed and international interdisciplinary journal that reports carbon-related materials and processes, including catalysis, energy conversion and storage, as well as low carbon emission process and engineering. Carbon Future will publish Research Articles, Reviews, Minireviews, Highlights, Perspectives, and News and Views from all aspects concerned with carbon. Carbon Future will publish articles that focus on, but not limited to, the following areas: carbon-related or -derived materials, carbon-related catalysis and fundamentals, low carbon-related energy conversion and storage, low carbon emission chemical processes.

About SciOpen 

SciOpen is a professional open access resource for discovery of scientific and technical content published by the Tsinghua University Press and its publishing partners, providing the scholarly publishing community with innovative technology and market-leading capabilities. SciOpen provides end-to-end services across manuscript submission, peer review, content hosting, analytics, and identity management and expert advice to ensure each journal’s development by offering a range of options across all functions as Journal Layout, Production Services, Editorial Services, Marketing and Promotions, Online Functionality, etc. By digitalizing the publishing process, SciOpen widens the reach, deepens the impact, and accelerates the exchange of ideas.

Journal: Carbon Future
DOI: 10.26599/CF.2024.9200009
Article Title: Fullerene-metalloporphyrin co-crystal as efficient ORR electrocatalyst precursor for Zn-air batteries
Article Publication Date: 26-Feb-2024

Media Contact

Mengdi Li
Tsinghua University Press
Office: 86-108-347-0580

Media Contact

Mengdi Li
Tsinghua University Press

All latest news from the category: Materials Sciences

Materials management deals with the research, development, manufacturing and processing of raw and industrial materials. Key aspects here are biological and medical issues, which play an increasingly important role in this field.

innovations-report offers in-depth articles related to the development and application of materials and the structure and properties of new materials.

Back to home

Comments (0)

Write a comment

Newest articles

“Nanostitches” enable lighter and tougher composite materials

In research that may lead to next-generation airplanes and spacecraft, MIT engineers used carbon nanotubes to prevent cracking in multilayered composites. To save on fuel and reduce aircraft emissions, engineers…

Trash to treasure

Researchers turn metal waste into catalyst for hydrogen. Scientists have found a way to transform metal waste into a highly efficient catalyst to make hydrogen from water, a discovery that…

Real-time detection of infectious disease viruses

… by searching for molecular fingerprinting. A research team consisting of Professor Kyoung-Duck Park and Taeyoung Moon and Huitae Joo, PhD candidates, from the Department of Physics at Pohang University…

Partners & Sponsors