Prudent electrochemical pretreatment to promote OER by catalytically inert “Iron incorporated metallic Ni nanowires” synthesized via “non–classical” growth mechanism
This study provides new insight towards non-classical “amorphous to crystalline” growth mechanism for metal nanowire synthesis and reports an electrochemical strategy to activate inactive materials into efficient electrocatalysts for OER. Despite considerable research on transition metal oxides/hydroxides, especially NiFe based hydroxides as OER electrocatalysts, poor conductivity of these materials plagues their catalytic efficiency. In contrast, lack of catalytic centers hinders the OER performance of conductive metals. Herein, we devised a suitable precondition strategy to transform only the surface of conductive metallic Ni nanowires into active catalytic centers. The resulting material with intimate contact between the electrically conductive core and electrocatalytically active surface showed promising “specific” and “geometric” electrocatalytic activity towards alkaline OER at different pH. Upon iron incorporation, the Fe centers incorporated at surface as well as in the bulk of the nanowires was found to further boost the OER activity of these materials. A one-pot strategy was adopted to produce iron free/incorporated Ni nanowires covered with nano-spikes. Growth analysis revealed a unique “non-classical amorphous-to-crystalline transformation” to be responsible for the formation of metallic nanowires.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Nanoscale Advances HOT Article Collection