Yuan, Yifei; Li, Matthew; Bai, Zhengyu; Jiang, Gaopeng; Liu, Bin; Wu, Tianpin; Chen, Zhongwei; Amine, Khalil; Lu, Jun
Operando characterization techniques have played a crucial role in modern technological developments. In contrast to the experimental uncertainties introduced by ex situ techniques, the simultaneous measurement of desired sample characteristics and near‐realistic electrochemical testing provides a representative picture of the underlying physics. From Li‐ion batteries to metal‐based electrocatalysts, the insights offered by real‐time characterization data have enabled more efficient research programs. As an emerging class of catalyst, much of the mechanistic understanding of metal‐free electrocatalysts continues to be elusive in comparison to their metal‐based counterparts. However, there is a clear absence of operando characterization performed on metal‐free catalysts. Through the proper execution of operando techniques, it can be expected that metal‐free catalysts can achieve exceptional technological progress. Here, the motivation of using operando characterization techniques for metal‐free carbon‐based catalyst system is considered, followed by a discussion of the possibilities, difficulties and benefits of their applications.