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  1. Carbon-based catalysts have been attracting extensive attention as viable candidates to replace platinum towards oxygen reduction reaction, a critical process at fuel cell cathode. An advancement has been the development of carbon-supported iron carbide (Fe3C/C) catalysts derived from the pyrolysis of metal organic frameworks (MOFs). In the present study, a series of Fe3C/C nanocomposites were prepared by controlled pyrolysis of FeMOF-NH2 with a systemic variation of the iron and zinc compositions in the MOF precursor. Scanning/transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopic measurements were carried out to examine the morphologies, structures, and elemental composition of the nanocomposites, while nitrogen adsorption/desorption and Raman studies were used to characterize the surface area and porosity. It was found that an optimal zinc to iron feeding ratio was required to produce a catalyst with a preferential pore size distribution. Electrochemical measurements revealed that the sample derived from 20% zinc replacement in the FeMOF-NH2 precursor exhibited the best electrocatalytic activity in alkaline media among the series, with the most positive onset potential and highest limiting current, which coincided with the highest surface area and porosity. The results suggest that deliberate structural engineering is critical in manipulating and optimizing the electrocatalytic activity of metal,nitrogen-codopedmore »carbon nanocomposites.« less
  2. Intraparticle charge delocalization occurs when metal nanoparticles are functionalized with organic capping ligands through conjugated metal-ligand interfacial bonds. In this study, metal nanoparticles of 5d metals (Ir, Pt, and Au) and 4d metals (Ru, Rh, and Pd) were prepared and capped with ethynylphenylacetylene and the impacts of the number of metal d electrons on the nanoparticle optoelectronic properties were examined. Both FTIR and photoluminescence measurements indicate that intraparticle charge delocalization was enhanced with the increase of the number of d electrons in the same period with palladium being an exception.