Interfacial coordination assembly of tannic acid with metal ions on three-dimensional nickel hydroxide nanowalls for efficient water splitting†
Exploring cheap and efficient bifunctional electrocatalysts is highly desirable but challenging for sustainable production of hydrogen via electrocatalytic water splitting. Herein, a versatile strategy was demonstrated to controllably synthesize a family of metal ion-chelated tannic acid coatings on diverse metal hydroxide nanoarchitectures via the interfacial coordination assembly process. Typically, the interfacial coordination of tannic acid with a range of metal ions (e.g., Fe3+, Co2+, and Ni2+) enables the in situ formation of metal–ligand networks on nickel hydroxide nanowalls and other hierarchical substrates. Importantly, the obtained hierarchical coordination complex showed that its bifunctional electrocatalytic activity toward the oxygen evolution reaction and hydrogen evolution reaction is highly dependent on the chelated metal ions. The coordination coating of tannic acid with iron ions on nickel hydroxide nanowalls significantly enhanced the bifunctional electrocatalytic activity and achieved maximal activity toward overall water splitting with good long-term durability. This interfacial coordination assembly coating strategy is facile yet efficient, opening a new avenue for rational modulation of the surface properties of metal (hydro)oxides for promising applications.