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Cation Exchange in Colloidal Transition Metal Nitride Nanocrystals

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Yang, Lei; Zhang, Liping; Li, Ye; Lee, Byoung-Hoon; Kim, Jiheon; Lee, Hyeon Seok; Bok, Jinsol; Ma, Yanbo; Zhou, Wansheng; Yuan, Du; Wang, An-Liang; Bootharaju, Megalamane S.; Zhang, Hemin; Hyeon, Taeghwan; Chen, Junze

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American Chemical Society
Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol.146 No.18, pp.12556-12564
Transition metal nitride (TMN)-based nanostructures have emerged as promising materials for diverse applications in electronics, photonics, energy storage, and catalysis due to their highly desirable physicochemical properties. However, synthesizing TMN-based nanostructures with designed compositions and morphologies poses challenges, especially in the solution phase. The cation exchange reaction (CER) stands out as a versatile postsynthetic strategy for preparing nanostructures that are otherwise inaccessible through direct synthesis. Nevertheless, exploration of the CER in TMNs lags behind that in metal chalcogenides and metal phosphides. Here, we demonstrate cation exchange in colloidal metal nitride nanocrystals, employing Cu3N nanocrystals as starting materials to synthesize Ni4N and CoN nanocrystals. By controlling the reaction conditions, Cu3N@Ni4N and Cu3N@CoN core@shell heterostructures with tunable compositions can also be obtained. The Ni4N and CoN nanocrystals are evaluated as catalysts for the electrochemical oxygen evolution reaction (OER). Remarkably, CoN nanocrystals demonstrate superior OER performance with a low overpotential of 286 mV at 10 mAcm(-2), a small Tafel slope of 89 mVdec(-1), and long-term stability. Our CER approach in colloidal TMNs offers a new strategy for preparing other metal nitride nanocrystals and their heterostructures, paving the way for prospective applications.
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  • School of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Research Area Chemistry, Materials Science


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