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Issue 2, 2019
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Ultrathin nickel boride nanosheets anchored on functionalized carbon nanotubes as bifunctional electrocatalysts for overall water splitting

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Abstract

Transition metal boride (TMB) materials have recently gained vast interest as a new class of catalysts. However, their catalytic performance is still limited due to poor electrical conductivity and limited specific surface area. Here, we demonstrate a generalizable approach to overcome these limitations by anchoring ultrathin nickel boride (NixB) sheets on the surfaces of functionalized small-diameter multi-walled carbon nanotubes (f-MWCNTs). The electrochemically active surface area and charge transfer resistance of the resulting hybrid materials (NixB/f-MWCNT) is 3.4 and 0.24 times that of the NixB nanosheets, respectively. And, NixB/f-MWCNT exhibited superior catalytic activities and stability toward both oxygen evolution and hydrogen evolution reactions. For the overall water splitting, it requires a cell voltage of 1.60 V to reach the current density of 10 mA cm−2, outperforming existing metal boride catalysts as well as commercial IrO2/Pt/C catalysts. Further, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy revealed the strong chemical coupling between NixB and f-MWCNTs and the in situ formation of highly active NiOOH/NixB and Ni(OH)2/NixB heterojunctions, which contributes to the superior activity. The developed design concept can serve as a general approach to improve other electrocatalysts with low electrical conductivity and specific surface area, such as metal oxides, metal hydroxides, and metal–organic framework-derived materials.

Graphical abstract: Ultrathin nickel boride nanosheets anchored on functionalized carbon nanotubes as bifunctional electrocatalysts for overall water splitting

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
19 Sep 2018
Accepted
08 Dec 2018
First published
10 Dec 2018

J. Mater. Chem. A, 2019,7, 764-774
Article type
Paper

Ultrathin nickel boride nanosheets anchored on functionalized carbon nanotubes as bifunctional electrocatalysts for overall water splitting

X. Chen, Z. Yu, L. Wei, Z. Zhou, S. Zhai, J. Chen, Y. Wang, Q. Huang, H. E. Karahan, X. Liao and Y. Chen, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2019, 7, 764
DOI: 10.1039/C8TA09130G

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