- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Journal of Materials Chemistry A
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- 20131 to 20163
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Water splitting has been widely considered to be an efficient way to generate sustainable and renewable energy resources in fuel cells, metal–air batteries and other energy conversion devices. Exploring efficient electrocatalysts to expedite the anodic oxygen evolution reaction (OER) is a crucial task that needs to be addressed in order to boost the practical application of water splitting. Intensive efforts have been devoted to develop mixed transition metal based chalcogenides as effective OER electrocatalysts. Herein, we have reported synthesis of a series of mixed metal selenides containing Co, Ni and Cu employing combinatorial electrodeposition, and systematically investigated how the transition metal doping affects the OER catalytic activity in alkaline medium. Energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) was performed to detect the elemental compositions and confirm the feasibility of compositional control of 66 metal selenide thin films. It was observed that the OER catalytic activity is sensitive to the concentration of Cu in the catalysts, and the catalyst activity tended to increase with increasing Cu concentration. However, increasing the Cu concentration beyond a certain limit led to decrease in catalytic efficiency, and copper selenide by itself, although catalytically active, showed higher onset potential and overpotential for OER compared to the ternary and quaternary mixed metal selenides. Interestingly, the best quaternary composition (Co 0.21 Ni 0.25 Cu 0.54 ) 3 Se 2 showed similar crystal structure as its parent compound of Cu 3 Se 2 with slight decrease in lattice spacings of (101) and (210) lattice planes (0.0222 Å and 0.0148 Å, respectively) evident from the powder X-ray diffraction pattern. (Co 0.21 Ni 0.25 Cu 0.54 ) 3 Se 2 thin film exhibited excellent OER catalytic activity and required an overpotential of 272 mV to reach a current density of 10 mA cm −2 , which is 54 mV lower than Cu 3 Se 2 , indicating a synergistic effect of transition metal doping in enhancing catalytic activity.more » « less
The efficient production of green hydrogen via electrochemical water splitting is important for improving the sustainability and enabling the electrification of the chemical industry. One of the major goals of water electrolysis is to utilize non-precious metal catalysts, which can be accomplished with alkaline electrolyzer technologies. However, there is a continuing need for designing catalysts that can operate in alkaline environments with high efficiencies under high current densities. Here we describe a simple, aqueous-based synthesis method to incorporate sulfur into NiFe-based electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER). Sulfur incorporation was able to reduce the overpotential for the OER from ca. 350 mV on a NiFe catalyst to ca. 290 mV on the NiFeS catalyst at 100 mA cm −2 on a flat supporting electrode. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy data showed a small decrease in the charge transfer resistance of the NiFeS catalysts, showing that sulfur incorporation may improve the electronic conductivity. Surface-interrogation scanning electrochemical microscopy (SI-SECM) studies combined with Tafel slope analysis suggested that the NiFeS catalyst was able to have vacant surface sites available under OER conditions and was able to maintain a Tafel slope of 39 mV dec −1 . This is in contrast to the NiFe catalyst, for which the SI-SECM studies showed a saturated surface under OER conditions with the Tafel slope transitioning from 39 mV dec −1 to 118 mV dec −1 . The low Tafel slope enabled the NiFeS catalyst to maintain low overpotentials under high current densities, which we attribute to the ability of the NiFeS catalyst to maintain vacant sites during the OER.more » « less
Based on the coincident onsets of oxygen evolution reaction (OER) and metal dissolution for many metal‐oxide catalysts it was suggested that OER triggers dissolution. It is believed that both processes share common intermediates, yet exact mechanistic details remain largely unknown. For example, there is still no clear understanding as to why rutile IrO2exhibits such an exquisite stability among water‐splitting electrocatalysts. Here, we employ density functional theory calculations to analyze interactions between water and the (110) surface of rutile RuO2and IrO2as a response to oxygen evolution involving lattice oxygen species. We observe that these oxides display qualitatively different interfacial behavior that should have important implications for their electrochemical stability. Specifically, it is found that IrO2(110) becomes further stabilized under OER conditions due to the tendency to form highly stable low oxidation state Ir(III) species. In contrast, Ru species at RuO2(110) are prone to facile reoxidation by solution water. This should facilitate the formation of high Ru oxidation state intermediates (>IV) accelerating surface restructuring and metal dissolution.
Energy harvesting from solar and water has created ripples in materials energy research for the last several decades, complemented by the rise of Hydrogen as a clean fuel. Among these, water electrolysis leading to generation of oxygen and hydrogen, has been one of the most promising routes towards sustainable alternative energy generation and storage, with applications ranging from metal-air batteries, fuel cells, to solar-to-fuel energy conversion systems. In fact, solar water splitting is one of the most promising method to produce Hydrogen without depleting fossil-fuel based natural resources. However, the efficiency and practical feasibility of water electrolysis is limited by the anodic oxygen evolution reaction (OER), which is a kinetically sluggish, electron-intensive uphill reaction. A slow OER process also slows the other half- cell reaction, i.e. the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) at the cathode. Hence, designing efficient catalysts for OER process from earth-abundant resources has been one of the primary concerns for advancing solar water splitting. In the Nath group we have focused on transition metal chalcogenides as efficient OER electrocatalysts. We have proposed the idea that these chalcogenides, specifically, selenides and tellurides will show much better OER catalytic activity due to increasing covalency around the catalytically active transition metal site, compared to the oxides caused by decreasing electronegativity of the anion, which in turn leads to variation of chem. potential around the transition metal center, [e.g. lowering the Ni 2+ --> Ni 3+ oxidn. potential in Ni-based catalysts where Ni 3+ is the actually catalytically active species]. Based on such hypothesis, we have synthesized a plethora of transition metal selenides including those based on Ni, Ni-Fe, Co, and Ni-Co, which show high catalytic efficiency characterized by low onset potential and overpotential at 10 mA/cm 2 [Ni 3 Se 2 - 200 - 290 mV; Co 7 Se 8 - 260 mV; FeNi 2 Se 4 -NrGO - 170 mV (NrGO - N-doped reduced graphene oxide); NiFe 2 Se 4 - 210 mV; CoNi 2 Se 4 - 190 mV; Ni 3 Te 2 - 180 mV].more » « less
Electrocatalysts are required for clean energy technologies (for example, water‐splitting and metal‐air batteries). The development of a multifunctional electrocatalyst composed of nitrogen, phosphorus, and fluorine tri‐doped graphene is reported, which was obtained by thermal activation of a mixture of polyaniline‐coated graphene oxide and ammonium hexafluorophosphate (AHF). It was found that thermal decomposition of AHF provides nitrogen, phosphorus, and fluorine sources for tri‐doping with N, P, and F, and simultaneously facilitates template‐free formation of porous structures as a result of thermal gas evolution. The resultant N, P, and F tri‐doped graphene exhibited excellent electrocatalytic activities for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), oxygen evolution reaction (OER), and hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). The trifunctional metal‐free catalyst was further used as an OER–HER bifunctional catalyst for oxygen and hydrogen gas production in an electrochemical water‐splitting unit, which was powered by an integrated Zn–air battery based on an air electrode made from the same electrocatalyst for ORR. The integrated unit, fabricated from the newly developed N, P, and F tri‐doped graphene multifunctional metal‐free catalyst, can operate in ambient air with a high gas production rate of 0.496 and 0.254 μL s−1for hydrogen and oxygen gas, respectively, showing great potential for practical applications.