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Regulated High‐Spin State and Constrained Charge Behavior of Active Cobalt Sites in Covalent Organic Frameworks for Promoting Electrocatalytic Oxygen Reduction

A novel type of covalent organic frameworks has been developed by assembling definite cobalt-nitrogen-carbon configurations onto carbon nanotubes using linkers that have varying electronic effects. This innovative approach has resulted in an efficient electrocatalyst for oxygen reduction, which is understood by a combination of in situ spectroelectrochemistry and the bond order theorem. The strong interaction between the electron-donating carbon nanotubes and the electron-accepting linker mitigates the trend of charge loss at cobalt sites, while inducing the generation of high spin state. This enhances the adsorption strength and electron transfer between the cobalt center and reactants/intermediates, leading to an improved oxygen reduction capability. This work not only presents an effective strategy for developing efficient non-noble metal electrocatalysts through reticular chemistry, but also provides valuable insights into regulating the electronic configuration and charge behavior of active sites in designing high-performance electrocatalysts.

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