Author(s) Lu, B.; Guo, L.; Wu, F.; Peng, Y.; Lu, J.En; Smart, T.J.; Wang, N.; Finfrock, Z.; Morris, D.; Zhang, P.; Li, N.; Gao, P.; Ping, Y.; Chen, S.
Journal Nat Commun
Date Published 2019 Feb 07

Hydrogen evolution reaction is an important process in electrochemical energy technologies. Herein, ruthenium and nitrogen codoped carbon nanowires are prepared as effective hydrogen evolution catalysts. The catalytic performance is markedly better than that of commercial platinum catalyst, with an overpotential of only -12 mV to reach the current density of 10 mV cm in 1 M KOH and -47 mV in 0.1 M KOH. Comparisons with control experiments suggest that the remarkable activity is mainly ascribed to individual ruthenium atoms embedded within the carbon matrix, with minimal contributions from ruthenium nanoparticles. Consistent results are obtained in first-principles calculations, where RuCN moieties are found to show a much lower hydrogen binding energy than ruthenium nanoparticles, and a lower kinetic barrier for water dissociation than platinum. Among these, RuCN stands out as the most active catalytic center, where both ruthenium and adjacent carbon atoms are the possible active sites.

DOI 10.1038/s41467-019-08419-3
ISSN 2041-1723
Citation Nat Commun. 2019;10(1):631.