Turning indium oxide into a superior electrocatalyst: deterministic heteroatoms
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The efficient electrocatalysts for many heterogeneous catalytic processes in energy conversion and storage systems must possess necessary surface active sites. Here we identify, from X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and density functional theory calculations, that controlling charge density redistribution via the atomic-scale incorporation of heteroatoms is paramount to import surface active sites. We engineer the deterministic nitrogen atoms inserting the bulk material to preferentially expose active sites to turn the inactive material into a sufficient electrocatalyst. The excellent electrocatalytic activity of N-In2O3 nanocrystals leads to higher performance of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) than the DSCs fabricated with Pt. The successful strategy provides the rational design of transforming abundant materials into high-efficient electrocatalysts. More importantly, the exciting discovery of turning the commonly used transparent conductive oxide (TCO) in DSCs into counter electrode material means that except for decreasing the cost, the device structure and processing techniques of DSCs can be simplified in future.
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Inorganic Green Chemistry