Aerogels offer a great platform for heterogeneous electrocatalysis owing to their high surface area and porosity. Atomically dispersed transition metal ions can be imbedded in these platforms at ultra-high site density to make them catalytically active for various reactions. Herein, the synthesis of a new class of conjugated microporous organic aerogels that are used as covalent 3D frameworks for the electrocatalysis of oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is reported. Modified aerogels functionalized with bipyridine ligands enable copper ion complexation in a single-step synthesis. The aerogels’ structures are fully characterized using a wide array of spectroscopic and microscopic methods, and heat-treated in order to make them electronically conductive. After heat treatment at 600 °C, the aerogels maintained their macrostructure and became active ORR catalysts in alkaline environment, showing high mass activity and ultra-high site density.
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- conjugated polymers
- covalent organic frameworks
- oxygen reduction