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Issue 13, 2017
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A hierarchically porous nickel–copper phosphide nano-foam for efficient electrochemical splitting of water

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Abstract

Electrochemical splitting of water to produce oxygen (O2) and hydrogen (H2) through a cathodic hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) and an anodic oxygen evolution reaction (OER) is a promising green approach for sustainable energy supply. Here we demonstrated a porous nickel-copper phosphide (NiCuP) nano-foam as a bifunctional electrocatalyst for highly efficient total water splitting. Prepared from a bubble-templated electrodeposition method and subsequent low-temperature phosphidization, NiCuP has a hierarchical pore structure with a large electrochemical active surface area. To reach a high current density of 50 mA cm−2, it requires merely 146 and 300 mV with small Tafel slopes of 47 and 49 mV dec−1 for HER and OER, respectively. The total water splitting test using NiCuP as both the anode and cathode showed nearly 100% Faradic efficiency and surpassed the performances of electrode pairs using commercial Pt/C and IrO2 catalysts under our test conditions. The high activity of NiCuP can be attributed to (1) the conductive NiCu substrates, (2) a large electrochemically active surface area together with a combination of pores of different sizes, and (3) the formation of active Ni/Cu oxides/hydroxides while keeping a portion of more conductive Ni/Cu phosphides in the nano-foam. We expect the current catalyst to enable the manufacturing of affordable water splitting systems.

Graphical abstract: A hierarchically porous nickel–copper phosphide nano-foam for efficient electrochemical splitting of water

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Publication details

The article was received on 23 Dec 2016, accepted on 18 Jan 2017 and first published on 19 Jan 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6NR09864A
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017,9, 4401-4408
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    A hierarchically porous nickel–copper phosphide nano-foam for efficient electrochemical splitting of water

    L. Wei, K. Goh, Ö. Birer, H. E. Karahan, J. Chang, S. Zhai, X. Chen and Y. Chen, Nanoscale, 2017, 9, 4401
    DOI: 10.1039/C6NR09864A

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