Here we report the use of a molecule-to-cluster strategy for preparing ultrasmall (~8 Å) trimetallic Co-Fe-W clusters with high efficiency for the OER in alkaline media. Besides the excellent performance as OER catalyst, our molecule-to-cluster strategy allows to achieve well-defined transition-metal clusters in the subnanometer regime.
Xin-Bao Han, Xing-Yan Tang, Yue Lin, Eduardo Gracia-Espino, San-Gui Liu, Hai-Wei Liang, Guang-Zhi Hu, Xin-Jing Zhao, Hong-Gang Liao, Yuan-Zhi Tan, Thomas Wagberg, Su-Yuan Xie, Lan-Sun Zheng
"Ultrasmall Abundant Metal-Based Clusters as Oxygen-Evolving Catalysts"
J. Am. Chem. Soc. (2019) DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b09076
The oxygen evolution reaction is a crucial step in water electrolysis to develop clean and renewable energy. Although noble metal-based catalysts have demonstrated high activity for the oxygen evolution reaction, their application is limited by their high cost and low availability. Here we report the use of a molecule-to-cluster strategy for preparing ultrasmall trimetallic clusters by using the polyoxometalate molecule as a precursor. Ultrafine (0.8 nm) transition-metal clusters with controllable chemical composition are obtained. The transition-metal clusters enable highly efficient oxygen evolution through water electrolysis in alkaline media, manifested by an overpotential of 192 mV at 10 mA cm–2, a low Tafel slope of 36 mV dec–1, and long-term stability for 30 h of electrolysis. We note, however, that besides the excellent performance as an oxygen evolution catalyst, our molecule-to-cluster strategy provides a means to achieve well-defined transition-metal clusters in the subnanometer regime, which potentially can have an impact on several other applications.
The metastable 1T’ polymorph of MoS2 is an excellent catalyst towards the hydrogen evolution reaction. However, its production is limited by its lower energetic stability compared to the semiconductor 2H MoS2 phase. Stabilization of the 1T’ polymorph can be achieved through intercalation of sulfur-based compounds without adversely affecting its catalytic properties. In this occasion, the production of stable intercalated 1T′ MoS2 nanosheets attached on graphitic nanoribbons was published in the journal of Advanced Functional Materials.
Joakim Ekspong, Robin Sandström, Lakshmy Pulickal Rajukumar, Mauricio Terrones, Thomas Wågberg, and Eduardo Gracia‐Espino.
Advanced Functional Materials, 2018, 1802744
The metastable 1T′ polymorph of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) has shown excellent catalytic activity toward the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) in water‐splitting applications. Its basal plane exhibits high catalytic activity comparable to the edges in 2H MoS2 and noble metal platinum. However, the production and application of this polymorph are limited by its lower energetic stability compared to the semiconducting 2H MoS2 phase. Here, the production of stable intercalated 1T′ MoS2 nanosheets attached on graphitic nanoribbons is reported. The intercalated 1T′ MoS2 exhibits a stoichiometric S:Mo ratio of 2.3 (±0.1):1 with an expanded interlayer distance of 10 Å caused by a sulfur‐rich intercalation agent and is stable at room temperature for several months even after drying. The composition, structure, and catalytic activity toward HER are investigated both experimentally and theoretically. It is concluded that the 1T′ MoS2 phase is stabilized by the intercalated agents, which further improves the basal planes′ catalytic activity toward HER.
Surface activation of graphene nanoribbons for oxygen reduction reaction by nitrogen doping and defect engineering: An ab initio study
Here we used density functional theory to investigate the current-voltage characteristics and the distribution of catalytic active sites towards oxygen reduction of nitrogen-doped and defective graphene. The study highlights the importance of considering not only the interaction energy of reaction intermediates, but also the electrical conductivity of such configurations. The results were published in the journal of Carbon.
Joakim Ekspong, Nicolas Boulanger, Eduardo Gracia-Espino
Carbon (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.carbon.2018.05.050
Introducing heteroatoms and creating structural defects on graphene is a common and rather successful strategy to transform its inert basal plane into an efficient metal-free electrocatalyst for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). However, the intricate atomic configuration of defective graphenes difficult their optimization as ORR electrocatalysts, where not only a large density of active sites is desirable, but also excellent electrical conductivity is required. Therefore, we used density functional theory to investigate the current-voltage characteristics and the catalytic active sites towards ORR of nitrogen-doped and defective graphene by using 8 zig-zag graphene nanoribbons as model systems. Detailed ORR catalytic activity maps are created for ten different systems showing the distribution of catalytic hot spots generated by each defect. Subsequently, the use of both current-voltage characteristics and catalytic activity maps allow to exclude inefficient systems that exhibit either low electrical conductivity or have adsorption energies far from optimal. Our study highlights the importance of considering not only the interaction energy of reaction intermediates to design electrocatalysts, but also the electrical conductivity of such configurations. We believe that this work is important for future experimental studies by providing insights on the use of graphene as a catalyst towards the ORR reaction.
Cationic Vacancy Defects in Iron Phosphide: A Promising Route toward Efficient and Stable Hydrogen Evolution by Electrochemical Water Splitting
We created Fe vacancies as an approach to modulate the electronic structure and catalytic activity of iron phosphide (FeP). The Fe-vacancy-rich FeP nanoparticulate films showed excellent HER activity achieving a current density of 10 mA cm-2 at overpotentials of 108 mV in 1 M KOH, and 65 mV in 0.5 M H2SO4. This work was carried out in collaboration with Prof. Messinger (Uppsala University).
W. L. Kwong, E. Gracia-Espino, C. C. Lee, R. Sandström, T. Wågberg, and J. Messinger.
ChemSusChem (2017) DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201701565
Engineering the electronic properties of transition metal phosphides has shown great effectiveness in improving their intrinsic catalytic activity for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) in water splitting applications. Herein, we report for the first time, the creation of Fe vacancies as an approach to modulate the electronic structure of iron phosphide (FeP). The Fe vacancies were produced via chemical leaching of Mg that was introduced into FeP as 'sacrificial dopant'. The obtained Fe-vacancy-rich FeP nanoparticulate films, which were deposited on Ti foil, shows excellent HER activity as compared to pristine FeP and Mg-doped FeP, achieving a current density of 10 mA cm-2 at overpotentials of 108 mV in 1 M KOH and 65 mV in 0.5 M H2SO4, with a near-100% Faradaic efficiency. Our theoretical and experimental analyses reveal that the improved HER activity originates from the presence of Fe vacancies, which lead to a synergistic modulation of the structural and electronic properties that result in a near optimal hydrogen adsorption free energy and enhanced proton trapping. The success in catalytic improvement via the introduction of cationic vacancy defects has not only demonstrated the potential of Fe-vacancy-rich FeP as highly efficient, earth abundant HER catalyst, but also opened up an exciting pathway for activating other promising catalysts for electrochemical water splitting.
Nano for Energy group
Comprehensive Study of an Earth-Abundant Bifunctional 3D Electrode for Efficient Water Electrolysis in Alkaline Medium.
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2015, 7, 28148
C60/Collapsed Carbon Nanotube Hybrids - A Variant of Peapods.
Nano Lett., 2015, 15 (2), pp 829–834
Fabrication of One-Dimensional Zigzag [6,6]-Phenyl-C61-Butyric Acid Methyl Ester Nanoribbons from Two-Dimensional Nanosheets.
ACS Nano, 2015, 9, 10516
Hierarchical self-assembled structures based on nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes as advanced negative electrodes for Li-ion batteries and 3D microbatteries.
J. P. Sources, 2015, 279, 581
.Self-Assembly Synthesis of Decorated Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Nanotubes with ZnO Nanoparticles: Anchoring Mechanism and the Effects of Sulfur.
J. Phys. Chem. C, 120, 27849 (2016)
Sn/Be Sequentially co-doped Hematite Photoanodes for Enhanced Photoelectrochemical Water Oxidation: Effect of Be2+ as co-dopant.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6: 23183.
Atomistic understanding of the origin of high oxygen reduction electrocatalytic activity of cuboctahedral Pt3Co–Pt core–shell nanoparticles.
Catal. Sci. Technol., 2016, 6, 1393-1401
Photocatalytic reduction of CO2 with H2O over modified TiO2 nanofibers: Understanding the reduction pathway.
Nano Res. (2016) 9: 1956.