Controlling the Co–S coordination environment in Co-doped WS2 nanosheets for electrochemical oxygen reduction†
Cobalt sulfide nanomaterials are among the most active and stable catalysts for the electrocatalytic oxygen reduction reaction in pH 7 electrolyte. However, due to the complexity and dynamism of the catalytic surfaces in cobalt sulfide bulk materials, it is challenging to identify and tune the active site structure in order to achieve low overpotential oxygen reduction reactivity. In this work, we synthesize isolated Co sites supported on colloidal WS2 nanosheets and develop a synthetic strategy to rationally control the first-shell coordination environment surrounding the adsorbed Co active sites. By studying Co–WS2 materials with a range of Co–S coordination numbers, we are able to identify the optimal active site for pH 7 oxygen reduction catalysis, which comprises cobalt atoms bound to the WS2 support with a Co–S coordination number of 3–4. The optimized Co–WS2 material exhibits an oxygen reduction onset potential of 0.798 V vs. RHE, which is comparable to the most active bulk phases of cobalt sulfide in neutral electrolyte conditions.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Journal of Materials Chemistry A Emerging Investigators