Solvent-induced electrochemistry at an electrically asymmetric carbon Janus particle

Albert Tianxiang Liu, Yuichiro Kunai, Anton L. Cottrill, Amir Kaplan, Ge Zhang, Hyunah Kim, Rafid S. Mollah, Yannick L. Eatmon, Michael S. Strano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Chemical doping through heteroatom substitution is often used to control the Fermi level of semiconductor materials. Doping also occurs when surface adsorbed molecules modify the Fermi level of low dimensional materials such as carbon nanotubes. A gradient in dopant concentration, and hence the chemical potential, across such a material generates usable electrical current. This opens up the possibility of creating asymmetric catalytic particles capable of generating voltage from a surrounding solvent that imposes such a gradient, enabling electrochemical transformations. In this work, we report that symmetry-broken carbon particles comprised of high surface area single-walled carbon nanotube networks can effectively convert exothermic solvent adsorption into usable electrical potential, turning over electrochemical redox processes in situ with no external power supply. The results from ferrocene oxidation and the selective electro-oxidation of alcohols underscore the potential of solvent powered electrocatalytic particles to extend electrochemical transformation to various environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3415
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


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