P-Doped Porous Carbon as Metal Free Catalysts for Selective Aerobic Oxidation with an Unexpected Mechanism

Mehulkumar A. Patel, Feixiang Luo, M. Reza Khoshi, Emann Rabie, Qing Zhang, Carol R. Flach, Richard Mendelsohn, Eric Garfunkel, Michal Szostak, Huixin He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Citations (Scopus)


An extremely simple and rapid (seconds) approach is reported to directly synthesize gram quantities of P-doped graphitic porous carbon materials with controlled P bond configuration. For the first time, it is demonstrated that the P-doped carbon materials can be used as a selective metal free catalyst for aerobic oxidation reactions. The work function of P-doped carbon materials, its connectivity to the P bond configuration, and the correlation with its catalytic efficiency are studied and established. In direct contrast to N-doped graphene, the P-doped carbon materials with higher work function show high activity in catalytic aerobic oxidation. The selectivity trend for the electron donating and withdrawing properties of the functional groups attached to the aromatic ring of benzyl alcohols is also different from other metal free carbon based catalysts. A unique catalytic mechanism is demonstrated, which differs from both GO and N-doped graphene obtained by high temperature nitrification. The unique and unexpected catalytic pathway endows the P-doped materials with not only good catalytic efficiency but also recyclability. This, combined with a rapid, energy saving approach that permits fabrication on a large scale, suggests that the P-doped porous materials are promising materials for "green catalysis" due to their higher theoretical surface area, sustainability, environmental friendliness, and low cost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2305-2315
Number of pages11
JournalACS nano
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 23 2016


  • aerobic oxidation
  • alcohol oxidation reaction
  • carbon catalyst
  • microwave assisted fabrication
  • phosphorus doped carbon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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