First-principles study of two-dimensional material Cr2B2 as catalyst for electrochemical nitrogen reduction reaction

Long Lin, Pei Shi, Ling Fu, Chaozheng He, Jinrong Huo, Chenxu Zhao, Kun Xie, Longbin Yan, Linghao Zhu, Jingwen Sun, Zhanying Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Electrochemical nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR) is becoming increasingly promising alternatively to the traditional Haber-Bosch process but developing efficient electrocatalysts is still a challenge. In this job, we searched that the catalytic performance of Cr2B2 for NRR by way of density functional theory (DFT) calculations. We mainly screened out four favorable N2 adsorbed structures, including N2 adsorption on the B-B bonds, Cr-B bonds, top site of B and Cr atom. It was found that the largest adsorption energy was −1.235 eV when N2 was adsorbed on the Cr-B bond in a side-on structure, and has a better excellent NRR catalytic activity with the limiting potential is 0.29 V. The catalytic activity of all structures was better in the alternating mechanism of nitrogen reduction reaction. As the antibonding orbitals approach the Fermi level, the number of electrons in the antibonding orbitals increases. The limiting potential of TCr_end can also be reduced from 0.88 V to 0.35 V by N–N bond breaking after the second hydrogen, which contribute to the greater NRR performance. We hope that this research will offer a viable strategy for the design of NRR catalysts, and offer a new way of thinking for MBene as a catalyst for NRR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115677
JournalJournal of Electroanalytical Chemistry
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • CrB
  • Density functional theory
  • Electrocatalysis
  • Nitrogen reduction reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


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