Constructing Atomic Heterometallic Sites in Ultrathin Nickel-Incorporated Cobalt Phosphide Nanosheets via a Boron-Assisted Strategy for Highly Efficient Water Splitting.

American Chemical Society (ACS)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Nano letters, 2021, 21, (1), pp. 823-832
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Identification of active sites for highly efficient catalysts at the atomic scale for water splitting is still a great challenge. Herein, we fabricate ultrathin nickel-incorporated cobalt phosphide porous nanosheets (Ni-CoP) featuring an atomic heterometallic site (NiCo16-xP6) via a boron-assisted method. The presence of boron induces a release-and-oxidation mechanism, resulting in the gradual exfoliation of hydroxide nanosheets. After a subsequent phosphorization process, the resultant Ni-CoP nanosheets are implanted with unsaturated atomic heterometallic NiCo16-xP6 sites (with Co vacancies) for alkaline hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER). The optimized Ni-CoP exhibits a low overpotential of 88 and 290 mV at 10 mA cm-2 for alkaline HER and OER, respectively. This can be attributed to reduced free energy barriers, owing to the direct influence of center Ni atoms to the adjacent Co/P atoms in NiCo16-xP6 sites. These provide fundamental insights on the correlation between atomic structures and catalytic activity.
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