In this work, the influence of the structure-forming agent on the composition, morphology and oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity of Fe-N-C catalysts was investigated. As structure-forming agents (SFAs), dicyandiamide (DCDA) (nitrogen source) or oxalic acid (oxygen source) or mixtures thereof were used. For characterization, cyclic voltammetry and rotating disc electrode (RDE) experiments were performed in 0.1 M H2
. In addition to this, N2
sorption measurements and Raman spectroscopy were performed for the structural, and elemental analysis for chemical characterization. The role of metal, nitrogen and carbon sources within the synthesis of Fe-N-C catalysts has been pointed out before. Here, we show that the optimum in terms of ORR activity is achieved if both N
- and O
-containing SFAs are used in almost similar fractions. All catalysts display a redox couple, where its position depends on the fractions of SFAs. The SFA has also a strong impact on the morphology: Catalysts that were prepared with a larger fraction of N-containing SFA revealed a higher order in graphitization, indicated by bands in the 2nd order range of the Raman spectra. Nevertheless, the optimum in terms of ORR activity is obtained for the catalyst with highest D/G band ratio. Therefore, the results indicate that the presence of an additional oxygen-containing SFA is beneficial within the preparation.
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