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Recent progress in modulating the electronic structures of the catalytic sites of CoP by the cerium doping for hydrogen evolution reaction
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Hydrogen generation from the electrochemical water splitting driven by renewable energy sources have been considered as an effective and environmental-friendly method to produce clean fuels in a large scale for the sustainable society. The electrocatalysts plays important roles in the sustainable energy as well as chemical industry. Working as the electrode materials for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), the low-cost transition metal-based catalysts still face the great challenges in both catalytic efficiency and stability. Therefore, modulating the electronic structures and surface properties of the HER electrocatalysts by doping foreign elements is considered as an effective approach to improve the catalytic performance.
Recently, Prof. Qu group in Frontier Institute of Science and Technology, Prof. Chang group in the School of Chemical Engineering (Xi’an Jiaotong University) and Prof. Ho group in Department of Physics and Materials Science (City University of Hong Kong) develop and demonstrate the concept of rare-earth elemental doping by Ce into host catalysts of CoP in modulating their electronic structures and decreasing their adsorption free energy of hydrogen for the enhanced hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) performance via a complementary theoretical and experimental approach. In contrast to undoped catalysts, the Ce-doping can facilitate lower overpotential, Tafel slope and charge transfer resistance as well as larger electrochemically active surface area and turnover frequency to deliver superb catalytic activity and stability. In particular, the catalyst with optimized doping amount exhibits a record-low overpotential of 41 mV at 10 mA cm-2 among many recently-reported CoP-based catalysts. Also, the Ce-doped CoP catalysts exhibit good stability in both acidic and basic electrolytes for hydrogen evolution.
The research results are published as an online article at Nano Energy (IF=11.553) titled with “Modulating electronic structure of CoP electrocatalysts towards enhanced hydrogen evolution by Ce chemical doping in both acidic and basic media”. Wei Gao, a joint PhD student of Frontier Institute of Science and Technology at XJTU and Department of Physics and Materials Science at City University of Hong Kong, and Ming Yan, a master student at School of Chemical Engineering at XJTU contribute equally to this work. Link of this article is:
This research was supported by National 1000-Plan program, National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant 21603170, 51672229, 91645203), the Environment and Conservation Fund of Hong Kong SAR, China (ECF 2016-85), General Research Fund (CityU 11213115) and the Theme-based Research Scheme (T42-103/16-N) of the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong SAR, China, and the Science Technology and Innovation Committee of Shenzhen Municipality (Grant JCYJ20160229165240684).
Professor Qu’s group focuses on the applications of multi-dimensional materials on the heterogeneous catalysis, including high temperature catalysis, photocatalysis, organic catalysis and electrochemical catalysis. Students interested in his research topics are welcomed to mail Prof. Qu through email (yongquan@mail.xjtu.edu.cn).

Details can be found at http://gr.xjtu.edu.cn/web/yongquan/home.

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