Perspective on intermetallics towards efficient electrocatalytic water-splitting
Intermetallic compounds exhibit attractive electronic, physical, and chemical properties, especially in terms of a high density of active sites and enhanced conductivity, making them an ideal class of materials for electrocatalytic applications. Nevertheless, widespread use of intermetallics for such applications is often limited by the complex energy-intensive processes yielding larger particles with decreased surface areas. In this regard, alternative synthetic strategies are now being explored to realize intermetallics with distinct crystal structures, morphology, and chemical composition to achieve high performance and as robust electrode materials. In this perspective, we focus on the recent advances and progress of intermetallics for the reaction of electrochemical water-splitting. We first introduce fundamental principles and the evaluation parameters of water-splitting. Then, we emphasize the various synthetic methodologies adapted for intermetallics and subsequently, discuss their catalytic activities for water-splitting. In particular, importance has been paid to the chemical stability and the structural transformation of the intermetallics as well as their active structure determination under operating water-splitting conditions. Finally, we describe the challenges and future opportunities to develop novel high-performance and stable intermetallic compounds that can hold the key to more green and sustainable economy and rise beyond the horizon of water-splitting application.