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The rapid electrochemical activation of MoTe2 for the hydrogen evolution reaction

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-12831-0 DOI Help

Authors: Jessica C. Mcglynn (University of Glasgow) , Torben Dankwort (University of Kiel) , Lorenz Kienle (University of Kiel) , Nuno A. G. Bandeira (ioISI–BioSystems and Integrative Sciences Institute and Centro de Química e Bioquímica, C8-Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa) , James P. Fraser (University of Glasgow) , Emma K. Gibson (University of Glasgow) , Irene Cascallana-matias (University of Glasgow) , Katalin Kamarás (Wigner Research Centre for Physics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences) , Mark D. Symes (University of Glasgow) , Harry N. Miras (University of Glasgow) , Alexey Y. Ganin (University of Glasgow)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Nature Communications , VOL 10

State: Published (Approved)
Published: October 2019
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 14239

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: The electrochemical generation of hydrogen is a key enabling technology for the production of sustainable fuels. Transition metal chalcogenides show considerable promise as catalysts for this reaction, but to date there are very few reports of tellurides in this context, and none of these transition metal telluride catalysts are especially active. Here, we show that the catalytic performance of metallic 1T′-MoTe2 is improved dramatically when the electrode is held at cathodic bias. As a result, the overpotential required to maintain a current density of 10 mA cm−2 decreases from 320 mV to just 178 mV. We show that this rapid and reversible activation process has its origins in adsorption of H onto Te sites on the surface of 1T′-MoTe2. This activation process highlights the importance of subtle changes in the electronic structure of an electrode material and how these can influence the subsequent electrocatalytic activity that is displayed.

Journal Keywords: Electrocatalysis; Two-dimensional materials

Subject Areas: Materials, Chemistry

Instruments: B18-Core EXAFS