High-Throughput Screening Single-Atom Alloy for Electroreduction of Dinitrogen to Ammonia

12 January 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Exploring electrocatalyst with high activity, selectivity and stability is essential for development of applicable electrocatalytic ammonia synthesis technology. By performing density functional theory calculations, we systematically investigated a series of transition-metal doped Au-based single atom alloys (SAAs) as promising electrocatalysts for nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR). For Au-based electrocatalyst, the first hydrogenation step (*N2→*NNH) normally determines the limiting potential of the overall reaction process. Compared with pristine Au(111) surface, introducing single atom can significantly enhance the binding strength of N2, leading to decreased energy barrier of the key step, i.e., ΔG(*N2→*NNH). According to simulation results, three descriptors were proposed to describe ΔG(*N2→*NNH), including ΔG(*NNH), d-band center, and . Eight doped elements (Ti, V, Nb, Ru, Ta, Os, W, and Mo) were initially screened out with limiting potential ranging from -0.75V to -0.30 V. Particularly, Mo- and W-doped systems possess the best activity with limiting potentials of -0.30 V, respectively. Then the intrinsic relationship between structure and the potential performance was further analyzed by using machine-learning. The selectivity, feasibility, stability of these candidates were also evaluated, confirming that SAA containing Mo, Ru ,Ta, and W could be outstanding NRR electrocatalysts. This work not only broadens the understating of SAA application in electrocatalysis, but also devotes to the discovery of novel NRR electrocatalysts.


single-atom alloy
nitrogen reduction reaction

Supplementary materials

Supporting information Chemrxiv


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.