Engineering a local acid-like environment in alkaline medium for efficient hydrogen evolution reaction

Nat Commun. 2022 Apr 19;13(1):2024. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-29710-w.

ABSTRACT

Tuning the local reaction environment is an important and challenging issue for determining electrochemical performances. Herein, we propose a strategy of intentionally engineering the local reaction environment to yield highly active catalysts. Taking Ptδ- nanoparticles supported on oxygen vacancy enriched MgO nanosheets as a prototypical example, we have successfully created a local acid-like environment in the alkaline medium and achieve excellent hydrogen evolution reaction performances. The local acid-like environment is evidenced by operando Raman, synchrotron radiation infrared and X-ray absorption spectroscopy that observes a key H3O+ intermediate emergence on the surface of MgO and accumulation around Ptδ- sites during electrocatalysis. Further analysis confirms that the critical factors of the forming the local acid-like environment include: the oxygen vacancy enriched MgO facilitates H2O dissociation to generate H3O+ species; the F centers of MgO transfers its unpaired electrons to Pt, leading to the formation of electron-enriched Ptδ- species; positively charged H3O+ migrates to negatively charged Ptδ- and accumulates around Ptδ- nanoparticles due to the electrostatic attraction, thus creating a local acidic environment in the alkaline medium.

PMID:35440547 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-022-29710-w

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