Molecular engineered nanomaterials for catalytic hydrogen evolution and oxidation
The active sites of hydrogenases have inspired the design of molecular catalysts for hydrogen evolution and oxidation. In this feature article, we showcase key elements of bio-inspiration before embarking on a tour of a representative series of molecular hydrogen evolving catalysts (HECs) and describing the toolbox available for benchmarking their performances. We then show how such catalysts can be immobilized on conducting substrates to prepare electrode materials active for hydrogen evolution and oxidation with a special emphasis on cobalt diimine–dioxime complexes and DuBois' nickel diphosphine compounds. We finally discuss the optimization required for implementing molecular-engineered materials into operational devices and illustrate how such molecular approaches can be expanded to other fuel-forming processes such as the electrochemical valorisation of carbon dioxide and the oxygen reduction or water oxidation reactions.