Hydrogen evolution by a metal-free electrocatalyst

Yao Zheng, Yan Jiao, Yihan Zhu, Luhua Li, Yu Han, Ying Chen, Aijun Du, Mietek Jaronieć, Shi-Zhang Qiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1437 Scopus citations

Abstract

Electrocatalytic reduction of water to molecular hydrogen via the hydrogen evolution reaction may provide a sustainable energy supply for the future, but its commercial application is hampered by the use of precious platinum catalysts. All alternatives to platinum thus far are based on nonprecious metals, and, to our knowledge, there is no report about a catalyst for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution beyond metals. Here we couple graphitic-carbon nitride with nitrogen-doped graphene to produce a metal-free hybrid catalyst, which shows an unexpected hydrogen evolution reaction activity with comparable overpotential and Tafel slope to some of well-developed metallic catalysts. Experimental observations in combination with density functional theory calculations reveal that its unusual electrocatalytic properties originate from an intrinsic chemical and electronic coupling that synergistically promotes the proton adsorption and reduction kinetics. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Communications
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 28 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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