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The formation of (NiFe)S2 pyrite mesocrystals as efficient pre-catalysts for water oxidation

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Abstract

Designing intricate structures and searching for functional materials has attracted wide interest in nanoscience. Herein we have fabricated (NiFe)S2 pyrite mesocrystals in the form of nearly-single crystalline porous cubes, and studied their self-optimization to realize efficient activity toward water oxidation under electrochemical conditions. The growth mechanism of the mesocrystals was a non-classical mechanism, which was initiated by the formation of a large quantity of small nickel sulfide clusters, followed by the aggregation and transformation of these small clusters in an oriented manner. When these mesocrystals were tested for water oxidation under electrocatalytic conditions, the materials served as pre-catalysts and immediately self-optimized to form amorphous S-doped metal (oxy)hydroxides, which are the real catalytically active materials. As a result, the observed overpotential to reach a current density of 10 mA cm−2 on glassy carbon electrodes was less than 260 mV. The growth mechanism studied here may provide opportunities for constructing intricate sulfide structures, and the self-optimization process during water oxidation can inspire new thoughts on electrocatalysis.

Graphical abstract: The formation of (NiFe)S2 pyrite mesocrystals as efficient pre-catalysts for water oxidation

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Publication details

The article was received on 24 Dec 2017, accepted on 01 Feb 2018 and first published on 01 Feb 2018


Article type: Edge Article
DOI: 10.1039/C7SC05452A
Citation: Chem. Sci., 2018, Advance Article
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    The formation of (NiFe)S2 pyrite mesocrystals as efficient pre-catalysts for water oxidation

    B. Ni, T. He, J. Wang, S. Zhang, C. Ouyang, Y. Long, J. Zhuang and X. Wang, Chem. Sci., 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7SC05452A

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