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Mo2C Decorated High-Defective Graphene Nanospheres for Improved Hydrogen Evolution Reaction Catalytic Performance

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Abstract

Molybdenum carbide (Mo2C) based electrocatalysts have been considered one of the promising candidates to replace Pt-based catalysts toward the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). However, their practical application remains a great challenge. In this report, Mo2C nanoparticles are supported on a high-defective graphene nanospheres (GNs) synthesized by arc in liquid method. Attributing to the defect-rich features of GNs, the supported Mo2C nanoparticles with diameters of ~ 1.87 nm exhibit a homogeneous dispersion without obvious aggregation. Accordingly, the Mo2C/GNs catalyst exhibits an improved HER activity compared to MoO2/GNs with smaller Tafel slope of 58.6 mV dec−1 and lower overpotential of 196 mV to reach − 10 mA cm−2, as well as excellent cycling stability. These findings present the potential to enhance the catalytic performance of Mo2C species by adopting defect-rich carbon supports.

Graphic Abstract

A high-defective GNs were successfully synthesized through a simple and rapid self-assembly strategy called “the arc-discharge in liquid toluene” method, and then used as the support for Mo2C without any pre-treatment. Attributing to the structural features, Mo2C nanoparticles are supported on the prepared GNs with diameters of ~ 1.87 nm exhibit a homogeneous dispersion without obvious aggregation. In addition, the Mo2C/GNs catalyst exhibits an improved HER activity compared to Mo2/GNs with smaller Tafel slope of 58.6 mV dec−1 and lower overpotential of 196 mV to reach −10 mA cm−2, as well as excellent cycling stability. These findings present the potential to enhance the catalytic performance of Mo2C species by defective carbon supports.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (U1810204, 51602212, 51703150, 51701137), Basic Research Project in Shanxi Province (201901D211086, 201701D121043), Scientific and Technological Innovation Programs of Higher Education Institutions in Shanxi (STIP, 2019L0310, 2019L0120, 2019L0253, 2019L0346), and Program for the Innovative Talents of Higher Education Institutions in Shanxi, Special Foundation for Youth SanJin Scholars.

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Correspondence to Xiaoli Yan or Junjie Guo.

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Yan, X., Wang, D., Zhang, K. et al. Mo2C Decorated High-Defective Graphene Nanospheres for Improved Hydrogen Evolution Reaction Catalytic Performance. Catal Lett (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10562-020-03134-x

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Keywords

  • Arc-discharge
  • Graphene nanospheres
  • Electrocatalysis
  • Hydrogen evolution reaction