Dominating Role of Ni0 on the Interface of Ni/NiO for Enhanced Hydrogen Evolution Reaction

The research of a robust catalytic system based on single NiOx electrocatalyst for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) remains a huge challenge. Particularly, the factors that dominate the catalytic properties of NiOx-based hybrids for HER have not been clearly demonstrated. Herein, a convenient protocol for the fabrication of NiOx@bamboo-like carbon nanotube hybrids (NiOx@BCNTs) is designed. The hybrids exhibit superb catalytic ability and considerable durability in alkaline solution. A benchmark HER current density of 10 mA cm–2 has been achieved at an overpotential of ∼79 mV. In combination with the experimental results and density functional theory (DFT) calculations, this for the first time definitely validates that the inherent high Ni0 ratio and the Ni0 on the interface of Ni/NiO play a vital role in the outstanding catalytic performance. Especially, the Ni0 on the interface of Ni/NiO performs superior activity for water splitting compared with that of bulk Ni0. These conclusions provide guidance for the rational design of the future non-noble metallic catalysts.