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Issue 6, 2018
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Electrochemically in situ controllable assembly of hierarchically-ordered and integrated inorganic–carbon hybrids for efficient hydrogen evolution

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Abstract

Inorganic–carbon hybrid materials are an emerging class of nanostructured catalysts that can enhance various energy-oriented electrochemical reactions. Despite recent progress, it is still very challenging to controllably generate the hybrid carbon architecture and its inorganic components with a single approach. Inspired by the flexible redox properties of conductive polyaniline (PANI) polymer, we develop a redox-unit cooperative assembly strategy to synthesize hierarchically-ordered and integrated inorganic–carbon hybrids by electrochemically constructing the nanostructures of PANI and then modifying their redox states to controllably bond different metal complexes. The needle-branched PANI nanofibers are assembled in situ into a three-dimensional (3D) hierarchical framework on carbon paper by an anion induced electrochemical polymerization. Interestingly, tuning the redox states of PANI with a potentiostatic method achieves a controllable metal complex loading. The theoretical calculations show that the oxidized units can strongly bond metal complexes while reduced units don't react significantly due to a high formation energy. Both units with proper proportions can cooperatively control the concentration and spatial distribution of metal complexes in the PANI framework. After thermal treatment, the metal/PANI composites are transformed into a series of inorganic–carbon hybrids including metals and metal oxides, carbides, and sulfides. This novel strategy not only significantly improves the catalytic performance of non-noble metal hybrid materials but also greatly increases the utilization efficiency of noble metal catalysts in the hydrogen evolution reaction. Surprisingly, the optimized Pt@NC catalyst exhibits an ultrahigh mass activity that is ∼5.3-times better than the commercial Pt/C catalyst.

Graphical abstract: Electrochemically in situ controllable assembly of hierarchically-ordered and integrated inorganic–carbon hybrids for efficient hydrogen evolution

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Publication details

The article was received on 02 Jul 2018, accepted on 05 Sep 2018 and first published on 20 Sep 2018


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C8MH00773J
Citation: Mater. Horiz., 2018,5, 1194-1203

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    Electrochemically in situ controllable assembly of hierarchically-ordered and integrated inorganic–carbon hybrids for efficient hydrogen evolution

    Z. Wang, K. Sun, J. Henzie, X. Hao, Y. Ide, T. Takei, Y. Bando and Y. Yamauchi, Mater. Horiz., 2018, 5, 1194
    DOI: 10.1039/C8MH00773J

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