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Title: High-Potential Electrocatalytic O2 Reduction with Nitroxyl / NOx Mediators: Implications for Fuel Cells and Aerobic Oxidation Catalysis

Efficient reduction of O2 to water is a central challenge in energy conversion and aerobic oxidation catalysis. In the present study, we investigate the electrochemical reduction of O2 with soluble organic nitroxyl and nitrogen oxide (NOx) mediators. When used alone, neither organic nitroxyls, such as TEMPO (2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-1-piperidinyl-N-oxyl), nor NOx species, such as sodium nitrite, are effective mediators of electrochemical O2 reduction. The combination of nitroxyl/NOx species, however, mediates sustained O2 reduction at electrochemical potentials of 0.19–0.33 V (vs. Fc/Fc+) in acetonitrile containing trifluoroacetic acid. Mechanistic analysis of the coupled redox reactions supports a process in which the nitrogen oxide catalyst drives aerobic oxidation of a nitroxyl mediator to an oxoammonium species, which then is reduced back to the nitroxyl at the cathode. The electrolysis potential is dictated by the oxoammonium/nitroxyl reduction potential. The high potentials observed with this ORR system benefit from the mechanism-based specificity for four-electron reduction of oxygen to water mediated by NOx species, together with kinetically efficient reduction of oxidized NOx species by TEMPO and other organic nitroxyls. This research was supported as part of the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis, an Energy Frontier Research Center, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office ofmore » Basic Energy Sciences.« less
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Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2374-7951; KC0307010
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: ACS Central Science; Journal Volume: 1; Journal Issue: 5
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States