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ACS Nano. 2017 Nov 28;11(11):11031-11040. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.7b05050. Epub 2017 Oct 31.

Hexagonal-Phase Cobalt Monophosphosulfide for Highly Efficient Overall Water Splitting.

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State Key Laboratory for Mechanical Behavior of Materials, Xi'an Jiaotong University , Xi'an, Shaanxi 710049, People's Republic of China.
Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), A*STAR (Agency for Science Technology and Research) , 2 Fusionopolis Way, Innovis #08-03, Singapore 138634.


The rational design and synthesis of nonprecious, efficient, and stable electrocatalysts to replace precious noble metals are crucial to the future of hydrogen economy. Herein, a partial sulfurization/phosphorization strategy is proposed to synthesize a nonstoichiometric pyrrhotite-type cobalt monophosphosulfide material (Co0.9S0.58P0.42) with a hexagonal close-packed phase for electrocatalytic water splitting. By regulating the degree of sulfurization, the P/S atomic ratio in the cobalt monophosphosulfide can be tuned to activate the Co3+/Co2+ couples. The synergy between the nonstoichiometric nature and the tunable P/S ratio results in the strengthened Co3+/Co2+ couples and tunable electronic structure and thus efficiently promotes the oxygen/hydrogen evolution reaction (OER/HER) processes toward overall water splitting. Especially for OER, the Co0.9S0.58P0.42 material, featured with a uniform yolk-shell spherical morphology, shows a low overpotential of 266 mV at 10 mA cm-210) with a low Tafel slope of 48 mV dec-1 as well as high stability, which is comparable to that of the reported promising OER electrocatalysts. Coupled with the high HER activity of Co0.9S0.58P0.42, the overall water splitting is demonstrated with a low η10 at 1.59 V and good stability. This study shows that phase engineering and composition control can be the elegant strategy to realize the Co3+/Co2+ couple activation and electronic structure tuning to promote the electrocatalytic process. The proposed strategy and approaches allow the rational design and synthesis of transition metal monophosphosulfides toward advanced electrochemical applications.


electrocatalysts; hydrogen evolution reaction; metal monophosphosulfides; oxygen evolution reaction; yolk−shell


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