Cobalt Selenide Nanostructures: An Efficient Bifunctional Catalyst with High Current Density at Low Coverage


Electrodeposited Co7Se8 nanostructures exhibiting flakelike morphology show bifunctional catalytic activity for oxygen evolution and hydrogen evolution reaction (OER and HER, respectively) in alkaline medium with longterm durability (>12 h) and high Faradaic efficiency (99.62%). In addition to low Tafel slope (32.6 mV per decade), the Co7Se8 OER electrocatalyst also exhibited very low overpotential to achieve 10 mA cm2 (0.26 V) which is lower than other transition metal chalcogenide based OER electrocatalysts reported in the literature and significantly lower than the stateoftheart precious metal oxides. A low Tafel slope (59.1 mV per decade) was also obtained for the HER catalytic activity in alkaline electrolyte. The OER catalytic activity could be further improved by creating arrays of 3dimensional rodlike and tubular structures of Co7Se8 through confined electrodeposition on lithographically patterned nanoelectrodes. Such arrays of patterned nanostructures produced exceptionally high mass activity and gravimetric current density (~68000 A g1) compared to the planar thin films (~220 A g1). Such high mass activity of the catalysts underlines reduction in usage of the active material without compromising efficiency and their practical applicability. The catalyst layer could be electrodeposited on different substrates, and an effect of the substrate surface on the catalytic activity was also investigated. The Co7Se8 bifunctional catalyst enabled water electrolysis in alkaline solution at a cell voltage of 1.6 V. The electrodeposition works with exceptional reproducibility on any conducting substrate and shows unprecedented catalytic performance especially with the patterned growth of catalyst rods and tubes.



Keywords and Phrases

Catalysts; Chalcogenides; Corrosion; Efficiency; Electrocatalysts; Electrodeposition; Electrodes; Electrolytes; Hydrogen; Inorganic compounds; Nanostructures; Semiconducting selenium compounds; Substrates; Transition metal compounds; Transition metals; Alkaline electrolytes; Bi-functional catalysts; Catalytic performance; Conducting substrates; High current densities; Hydrogen evolution reactions; Transition metal chalcogenides; Water splitting; Catalyst activity

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