Uniquely integrated Fe-doped Ni(OH)2 nanosheets for highly efficient oxygen and hydrogen evolution reactions†
Developing high-efficiency electrocatalysts for both oxygen evolution reaction (OER) and hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) is vital for the production of hydrogen on a large scale by electrocatalytic splitting of water. Herein, Fe-doped Ni(OH)2 nanosheets directly grown on commercial Ni foam (FeNiOH/NF) were fabricated through a facile hydrothermal method in (NH4)2S2O8 aqueous solution containing iron salts. The integrated architecture with hierarchical pores is beneficial for exposing sufficient catalytically active sites and providing evaluated structural and electrical properties. In particular, the Fe-induced partial-charge-transfer greatly modifies the electronic structure of Ni(OH)2, which evidently promotes the electrocatalytic activity of the as-fabricated FeNiOH/NF for OER and HER. Thus, as an electrocatalyst for OER, FeNiOH/NF exhibits excellent activity with overpotentials of 271 and 318 mV to deliver current densities of 20 and 100 mA cm−2, respectively, with a small Tafel slope of 72 mV dec−1 in 1.0 M KOH, demonstrating the very high level of novelty and sufficient improvement over the current state-of-the-art IrO2 electrocatalyst. Most importantly, there is an increase in overpotential by only 23 mV during continuous reaction for over 20 h at an applied potential of 1.62 V to deliver current density of 500 mA cm−2. The as-fabricated electrocatalyst also enables high HER activity with robust stability. Finally, an overall water splitting current density of 10 mA cm−2 can be obtained at a cell voltage of 1.67 V in a two-electrode alkaline electrolyzer using FeNiOH/NF as both anode and cathode, along with impressive operation stability. This development with significant over the state-of-the-art IrO2 electrocatalyst can be widely extended to large-scale fabrication of versatile electrocatalysts for efficient water splitting technology.