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Nat Commun. 2014 Aug 22;5:4695. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5695.

Nanoscale nickel oxide/nickel heterostructures for active hydrogen evolution electrocatalysis.

Author information

  • 11] Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA [2].
  • 21] Materials Science and Technology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, USA [2].
  • 3Department of Chemical Engineering, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei 10607, Taiwan, ROC.
  • 4Canadian Light Source Inc., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada SK S7N 0X4.
  • 5Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
  • 6Department of Materials Science and Engineering, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996, USA.


Active, stable and cost-effective electrocatalysts are a key to water splitting for hydrogen production through electrolysis or photoelectrochemistry. Here we report nanoscale nickel oxide/nickel heterostructures formed on carbon nanotube sidewalls as highly effective electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution reaction with activity similar to platinum. Partially reduced nickel interfaced with nickel oxide results from thermal decomposition of nickel hydroxide precursors bonded to carbon nanotube sidewalls. The metal ion-carbon nanotube interactions impede complete reduction and Ostwald ripening of nickel species into the less hydrogen evolution reaction active pure nickel phase. A water electrolyzer that achieves ~20 mA cm(-2) at a voltage of 1.5 V, and which may be operated by a single-cell alkaline battery, is fabricated using cheap, non-precious metal-based electrocatalysts.

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