Recent advances in transition metal phosphide nanomaterials: synthesis and applications in hydrogen evolution reaction
The urgent need of clean and renewable energy drives the exploration of effective strategies to produce molecular hydrogen. With the assistance of highly active non-noble metal electrocatalysts, electrolysis of water is becoming a promising candidate to generate pure hydrogen with low cost and high efficiency. Very recently, transition metal phosphides (TMPs) have been proven to be high performance catalysts with high activity, high stability, and nearly ∼100% Faradic efficiency in not only strong acidic solutions, but also in strong alkaline and neutral media for electrochemical hydrogen evolution. In this tutorial review, an overview of recent development of TMP nanomaterials as catalysts for hydrogen generation with high activity and stability is presented. The effects of phosphorus (P) on HER activity, and their synthetic methods of TMPs are briefly discussed. Then we will demonstrate the specific strategies to further improve the catalytic efficiency and stability of TMPs by structural engineering. Making use of TMPs as cocatalysts and catalysts in photochemical and photoelectrochemical water splitting is also discussed. Finally, some key challenges and issues which should not be ignored during the rapid development of TMPs are pointed out. These strategies and challenges of TMPs are instructive for designing other high-performance non-noble metal catalysts.