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Issue 13, 2020
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Highly efficient electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution promoted by O–Mo–C interfaces of ultrafine β-Mo2C nanostructures

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Abstract

Optimizing interfacial contacts and thus electron transfer phenomena in heterogeneous electrocatalysts is an effective approach for enhancing electrocatalytic performance. Herein, we successfully synthesized ultrafine β-Mo2C nanoparticles confined within hollow capsules of nitrogen-doped porous carbon (β-Mo2C@NPCC) and found that the surface layer of molybdenum atoms was further oxidized to a single Mo–O surface layer, thus producing intimate O–Mo–C interfaces. An arsenal of complementary technologies, including XPS, atomic-resolution HAADF-STEM, and XAS analysis clearly reveals the existence of O–Mo–C interfaces for these surface-engineered ultrafine nanostructures. The β-Mo2C@NPCC electrocatalyst exhibited excellent electrocatalytic activity for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) in water. Theoretical studies indicate that the highly accessible ultrathin O–Mo–C interfaces serving as the active sites are crucial to the HER performance and underpinned the outstanding electrocatalytic performance of β-Mo2C@NPCC. This proof-of-concept study opens a new avenue for the fabrication of highly efficient catalysts for HER and other applications, whilst further demonstrating the importance of exposed interfaces and interfacial contacts in efficient electrocatalysis.

Graphical abstract: Highly efficient electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution promoted by O–Mo–C interfaces of ultrafine β-Mo2C nanostructures

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
23 Jan 2020
Accepted
06 Mar 2020
First published
12 Mar 2020

This article is Open Access
All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Chem. Sci., 2020,11, 3523-3530
Article type
Edge Article

Highly efficient electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution promoted by O–Mo–C interfaces of ultrafine β-Mo2C nanostructures

H. Yang, X. Chen, G. Hu, W. Chen, S. J. Bradley, W. Zhang, G. Verma, T. Nann, D. Jiang, P. E. Kruger, X. Wang, H. Tian, G. I. N. Waterhouse, S. G. Telfer and S. Ma, Chem. Sci., 2020, 11, 3523
DOI: 10.1039/D0SC00427H

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