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Issue 28, 2019
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Design and optimization of cobalt-encapsulating vertical graphene nano-hills for hydrogen evolution reaction

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Abstract

In spite of its great potential for sustainable water splitting technology, many challenges remain for the development of effective graphene-based hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) electrocatalysts. Based on mutually corroborating growth, electrochemical measurements, and density functional theory (DFT) calculations, we herein develop the HER-active vertical graphene nano-hills (VGNHs) on Co thin films such that Co atoms are introduced into the VGNH tip region. The HER activity exhibits a volcano-shaped curve with respect to the encapsulated Co density, and the best performance achieved at the nominal Co substrate thickness of 1 nm is characterized by the low onset potential, overpotential, and Tafel slope in acidic electrolyte. Especially, with this low-cost yet structurally and chemically stable Co-seeded VGNH catalyst, a record-level mass activity is achieved. The emergence of the HER activity from the combination of originally HER-inactive VGNHs and Co thin films is clarified by DFT calculations, which identifies the synergistic effects of the nanoscale curvature at the VGNH tip and the charge-transfer doping by encapsulated Co atoms.

Graphical abstract: Design and optimization of cobalt-encapsulating vertical graphene nano-hills for hydrogen evolution reaction

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Article information


Submitted
10 May 2019
Accepted
28 Jun 2019
First published
01 Jul 2019

J. Mater. Chem. A, 2019,7, 17046-17052
Article type
Paper

Design and optimization of cobalt-encapsulating vertical graphene nano-hills for hydrogen evolution reaction

S. B. Roy, S. Jerng, K. Akbar, J. H. Jeon, L. Truong, S. Chun, M. J. Noh, J. Lee and Y. Kim, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2019, 7, 17046
DOI: 10.1039/C9TA04878B

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