Nat Commun. 2022 Sep 5;13(1):5227. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-32937-2.
The realization of the efficient hydrogen conversion with large current densities at low overpotentials represents the development trend of this field. Here we report the atomic active sites tailoring through a facile synthetic method to yield well-defined Rhodium nanocrystals in aqueous solution using formic acid as the reducing agent and graphdiyne as the stabilizing support. High-resolution high-angle annular dark-field scanning-transmission electron microscopy images show the high-density atomic steps on the faces of hexahedral Rh nanocrystals. Experimental results reveal the formation of stable sp-C~Rh bonds can stabilize Rh nanocrystals and further improve charge transfer ability in the system. Experimental and density functional theory calculation results solidly demonstrate the exposed high active stepped surfaces and various metal atomic sites affect the electronic structure of the catalyst to reduce the overpotential resulting in the large-current hydrogen production from saline water. This exciting result demonstrates unmatched electrocatalytic performance and highly stable saline water electrolysis.