Gas-templating of hierarchically structured Ni–Co–P for efficient electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution†
One of the grand challenges for developing scalable and sustainable hydrogen producing systems is the lack of efficient and robust earth-abundant element based catalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). Herein, a hierarchically structured Ni–Co–P film was fabricated via a gas templating electro-deposition method. This film exhibits remarkably high catalytic performance for the HER in 1 M KOH with respective current densities of −10 and −500 mA cm−2 at the overpotentials of −30 and −185 mV with a Tafel slope of 41 mV dec−1. A controlled potential electrolysis experiment demonstrates that the as-prepared Ni–Co–P film is an efficient and robust catalyst with a faradaic efficiency close to 100%. Systematic characterization suggests that the unique hierarchical structure and the mutual participation of nano-sized Ni/Co based components are responsible for the high HER catalytic activity.