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Adv Mater. 2018 Jun;30(26):e1707301. doi: 10.1002/adma.201707301. Epub 2018 May 7.

Atomic-Scale Core/Shell Structure Engineering Induces Precise Tensile Strain to Boost Hydrogen Evolution Catalysis.

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Key Laboratory of Synthetic and Biological Colloids, Ministry of Education, School of Chemical and Material Engineering, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, 214122, China.
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Special Artificial Microstructure, School of Physics Science and Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai, 200092, China.
Department of Materials Science & Engineering and BIC-ESAT, College of Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China.
School of Materials Science and Engineering, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, 450001, China.
State Key Laboratory of Chemical Resource Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing, 100029, China.
Institute of Applied and Physical Chemistry and Center for Environmental Research and Sustainable Technology, Universität Bremen, 28359, Bremen, Germany.
School of Material Science and Engineering, North Minzu University, Yinchuan, 750021, China.


Tuning surface strain is a new strategy for boosting catalytic activity to achieve sustainable energy supplies; however, correlating the surface strain with catalytic performance is scarce because such mechanistic studies strongly require the capability of tailoring surface strain on catalysts as precisely as possible. Herein, a conceptual strategy of precisely tuning tensile surface strain on Co9 S8 /MoS2 core/shell nanocrystals for boosting the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) activity by controlling the MoS2 shell numbers is demonstrated. It is found that the tensile surface strain of Co9 S8 /MoS2 core/shell nanocrystals can be precisely tuned from 3.5% to 0% by changing the MoS2 shell layer from 5L to 1L, in which the strained Co9 S8 /1L MoS2 (3.5%) exhibits the best HER performance with an overpotential of only 97 mV (10 mA cm-2 ) and a Tafel slope of 71 mV dec-1 . The density functional theory calculation reveals that the Co9 S8 /1L MoS2 core/shell nanostructure yields the lowest hydrogen adsorption energy (∆EH ) of -1.03 eV and transition state energy barrier (∆E2H* ) of 0.29 eV (MoS2 , ∆EH = -0.86 eV and ∆E2H* = 0.49 eV), which are the key in boosting HER activity by stabilizing the HER intermediate, seizing H ions, and releasing H2 gas.


electrocatalysis; hydrogen evolution; materials chemistry; structure engineering; tensile strain


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