Structural dependence of electrosynthesized cobalt phosphide/black phosphorus pre-catalyst for oxygen evolution in alkaline media†
The integration of black phosphorus (BP) with metal phosphides is known to produce high-performance electrocatalysts for oxygen evolution reduction (OER), although increased stability and prevention of the degradation of their lone pairs would be desirable improvements. In this work, cobalt phosphide (CoP)/BP heterostructures were electrochemically synthesized with a two-electrode system, where cobalt ions were generated in situ at a Co anode, and non-aggregated BP nanosheets (NSs) were exfoliated from the bulky BP cathode. With an electrolysis voltage of 30 V, the CoP/BP heterostructure exhibited a superior and stable OER performance (e.g., an overpotential of 300 mV at 10 mA cm−2, which is 41 mV lower than that obtained with a RuO2 catalyst). The CoOx formed in situ during the OER catalysis and remaining CoP synergistically contributed to the enhanced OER performance. The present strategy provides a new electrosynthetic method to prepare stable BP electrocatalysts and also further expands their electrochemical applications.