Modular Iron-Bipyridine-Based Conjugated Aerogels as Catalysts for Oxygen Reduction Reaction

Leigh Peles-Strahl, Hilah C. Honig, Yeela Persky, David A. Cullen, Adi Dahan, Lior Elbaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Aerogels have a large surface area and a porous structure, which make them an attractive catalyst support materials for fuel cells. Modifying the aerogels’ building blocks and introducing catalytic sites into their backbones allow them to function as both catalysts and supports, thereby increasing the density and distribution of catalyst active sites. In this work, we studied conjugated aerogels containing iron-bipyridine catalytic sites for the oxygen reduction reaction. To demonstrate the variation in physical and electrochemical properties of these aerogels, a series of aerogels were synthesized by a Glaser coupling reaction. Iron salt was added to the three-dimensional gel to produce iron-bipyridine complexes and obtain atomically dispersed catalytic sites. The electrocatalytic activity and electrical conductivity of the aerogels were increased after their heat treatment to yield Fe-doped carbon aerogels. The control of metal loadings was accomplished by changing the bipyridine content during the aerogel synthesis, resulting in 0.9-4.1 wt % Fe. The results show a correlation between Fe loading, aerogel structure, and catalytic activity, achieving high performance for the oxygen reduction reaction in both acidic and alkaline media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14377-14384
Number of pages8
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number21
StatePublished - 3 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Chemical Society.


The Authors would like to thank the Israeli Ministry of Energy, The Israeli Ministry of Science, and the Israel Science foundation for their financial support. STEM research was supported by the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS), which is a US Department of Energy, Office of Science User Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

FundersFunder number
Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences
Israeli Ministry of Science
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Science
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Israel Science Foundation
Ministry of Energy, Israel


    • aerogels
    • conjugated polymers
    • covalent organic frameworks
    • electrocatalysis
    • oxygen reduction


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