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Porous Structured Ni–Fe–P Nanocubes Derived from a Prussian Blue Analogue as an Electrocatalyst for Efficient Overall Water Splitting

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journal contribution
posted on 18.07.2017, 00:00 by Cuijuan Xuan, Jie Wang, Weiwei Xia, Zongkai Peng, Zexing Wu, Wen Lei, Kedong Xia, Huolin L. Xin, Deli Wang
Exploring nonprecious metal electrocatalysts to replace the noble metal-based catalysts for full water electrocatalysis is still an ongoing challenge. In this work, porous structured ternary nickel–iron–phosphide (Ni–Fe–P) nanocubes were synthesized through one-step phosphidation of a Ni–Fe-based Prussian blue analogue. The Ni–Fe–P nanocubes exhibit a rough and loose porous structure on their surface under suitable phosphating temperature, which is favorable for the mass transfer and oxygen diffusion during the electrocatalysis process. As a result, Ni–Fe–P obtained at 350 °C with poorer crystallinity offers more unsaturated atoms as active sites to expedite the absorption of reactants. Additionally, the introduction of nickel improved the electronic structure and then reduced the charge-transfer resistance, which would result in a faster electron transport and an enhancement of the intrinsic electrocatalytic activities. Benefiting from the unique porous nanocubes and the chemical composition, the Ni–Fe–P nanocubes exhibit excellent hydrogen evolution reaction and oxygen evolution reaction activities in alkaline medium, with low overpotentials of 182 and 271 mV for delivering a current density of 10 mA cm–2, respectively. Moreover, the Ni–Fe–P nanocubes show outstanding stability for sustained water splitting in the two-electrode alkaline electrolyzer. This work not only provides a facile approach for designing bifunctional electrocatalysts but also further extends the application of metal–organic frameworks in overall water splitting.

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