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Unraveling the Factors Affecting the Electrochemical Performance of MoS2–Carbon Composite Catalysts for Hydrogen Evolution Reaction: Surface Defect and Electrical Resistance of Carbon Supports

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journal contribution
posted on 10.01.2019 by Yuhwan Hyeon, Su-Ho Jung, Wonseok Jang, Mansu Kim, Byung-Sung Kim, Jae-Hyun Lee, Koteeswara Reddy Nandanapalli, Namgee Jung, Dongmok Whang
In MoS2–carbon composite catalysts for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), the carbon materials generally act as supports to enhance the catalytic activity of MoS2 nanosheets. The carbon support provides a large surface area for increasing the MoS2 edge site density, and its physical structure can affect the electron transport rate in the composite catalysts. However, despite the importance of the carbon materials, direct observation of the effects of the physical properties of the carbon supports on the HER activity of MoS2–carbon composite catalysts has been hardly reported. In this work, we conduct an experimental model study to find the fundamental and important understanding of the correlation between the structural characteristics of carbon supports and the HER performance of MoS2–carbon composite catalysts using surface-modified graphitic carbon shell (GCS)-encapsulated SiO2 nanowires (GCS@SiO2 NWs) as support materials for MoS2 nanosheets. The surface defect density and the electrical resistance of GCS@SiO2 NWs are systematically modulated by control of H2 gas flow rates during the carbon shell growth on the SiO2 NWs. From in-depth characterization of the model catalysts, it is confirmed that the intrinsic catalytic activity of MoS2–carbon composites for the HER is improved linearly with the conductance of the carbon supports regardless of the MoS2 edge site density. However, in the HER polarization curve, the apparent current density increases in proportion to the product of the number of MoS2 edge sites and the conductance of GCS@SiO2 NWs.

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