Ni/nitrogen-doped graphene nanotubes acted as a valuable tailor for remarkably enhanced hydrogen evolution performance of platinum-based catalysts
Markedly minimizing the platinum (Pt) loading and increasing its mass activity are significant to drive down the cost of H2 production from water splitting. Herein, a novel electrocatalyst, Pt nanoparticles (NPs) anchored on Ni/nitrogen-doped graphene nanotubes (Pt/Ni@NGNTs), was designed and its exceptional catalytic performance towards hydrogen evolution reaction was demonstrated. Ni@NGNTs itself showed poor catalytic activity. Unexpectedly, when employed as a support, it increased the mass activity of the Pt metal by 30.1 times in an acidic electrolyte and 15.3 times in an alkaline electrolyte relative to that of commercial 20 wt% Pt/C. Moreover, the durability of Pt/Ni@NGNTs reached up to 50 h. Impressively, Pt NPs preferentially distributed around the protective graphene shells of the enclosed metal Ni, due to the enriched electron density and structural defects induced by Ni and N dopants. The electronic interactions between Pt and Ni@NGNTs tuned the electronic properties and greatly boosted catalytic performances of the anchored Pt NPs. The present catalyst shows significant potential for the synthesis of low cost, high performance Pt-based catalysts.