An efficient and pH-universal ruthenium-based catalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction
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- An efficient and pH-universal ruthenium-based catalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction
- Mahmood, Javeed; Li, Feng; Jung, Sun-Min; Okyay, Mahmut Sait; Ahmad, Ishfaq; Kim, Seok-Jin; Park, Noejung; Jeong, Hu Young; Baek, Jong-Beom
- Issue Date
- NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
- NATURE NANOTECHNOLOGY, v.12, no.5, pp.441 - 446
- The hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) is a crucial step in electrochemical water splitting and demands an efficient, durable and cheap catalyst if it is to succeed in real applications1, 2, 3. For an energy-efficient HER, a catalyst must be able to trigger proton reduction with minimal overpotential4 and have fast kinetics5, 6, 7, 8, 9. The most efficient catalysts in acidic media are platinum-based, as the strength of the Pt–H bond10 is associated with the fastest reaction rate for the HER11, 12. The use of platinum, however, raises issues linked to cost and stability in non-acidic media. Recently, non-precious-metal-based catalysts have been reported, but these are susceptible to acid corrosion and are typically much inferior to Pt-based catalysts, exhibiting higher overpotentials and lower stability13, 14, 15. As a cheaper alternative to platinum, ruthenium possesses a similar bond strength with hydrogen (∼65 kcal mol–1)16, but has never been studied as a viable alternative for a HER catalyst. Here, we report a Ru-based catalyst for the HER that can operate both in acidic and alkaline media. Our catalyst is made of Ru nanoparticles dispersed within a nitrogenated holey two-dimensional carbon structure (Ru@C2N). The Ru@C2N electrocatalyst exhibits high turnover frequencies at 25 mV (0.67 H2 s−1 in 0.5 M H2SO4 solution; 0.75 H2 s−1 in 1.0 M KOH solution) and small overpotentials at 10 mA cm–2 (13.5 mV in 0.5 M H2SO4 solution; 17.0 mV in 1.0 M KOH solution) as well as superior stability in both acidic and alkaline media. These performances are comparable to, or even better than, the Pt/C catalyst for the HER.
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