PbTe quantum dots as electron transfer intermediates for the enhanced hydrogen evolution reaction of amorphous MoSx/TiO2 nanotube arrays
Amorphous molybdenum sulfides (a-MoSx) have been demonstrated as economic and efficient hydrogen evolution catalysts for water splitting. Further improvements of their hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) activities could be achieved by coupling them with appropriate electron transfer intermediates via interfacial engineering. In this study, a novel ternary composite electrode comprising PbTe quantum dots (QDs), a-MoSx and TiO2 nanotube arrays (TNAs) was successfully fabricated by a facile combination of successive ionic layer adsorption and reaction (SILAR) and electrodeposition routes. Investigation of the microstructures and electrocatalytic properties of the a-MoSx/PbTe QD/TNA hybrid material show that PbTe QDs can work as electron temporary storage and electron transfer intermediates between the electrocatalyst a-MoSx and electrode-based material TiO2 that significantly lower the impedance of electrode process, enhance the energy band bending at the interface between the electrolyte and electrode surface, and increase the electrochemically active surface area. The electron interphase crossing from a-MoSx to electrolyte and electron transport inside the electrode are greatly strengthened. The ternary PbTe@MoSx/TNA electrode demonstrates lowered onset potential and Tafel slope and superior electrocatalytic activity and cyclic stability towards HER.