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Researchers Prepare Multiscale Structural and Electronic Control of 2D Molybdenum Sulfide Atomic Crystal

Apr 14, 2017     Email"> PrintText Size

Due to its unique physical and chemical properties in photocatalysis, electrocatalysis and heterogeneous catalysis, 2D molybdenum sulfide has attracted extensive attention by catalysis researchers. The catalytic reaction usually involves multistep and complicated processes. For example, the electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) of water splitting happens at the gas (H2), liquid (H2O) and solid (catalyst) three-phase interface.

The 2D molybdenum sulfide catalyst is required to own not only excellent intrinsic activity, but also a suitable surface and interface structure. In order to catalyze this high efficiency process, it needs multisale modulation and optimization of structural and electronic properties in 2D molybdenum sulfide.

Associate Prof. DENG Dehui, Prof. BAO Xinhe and colleagues from Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics of Chinese Academy of Sciences successfully achieved the multiscale structural and electronic control of 2D molybdenum sulfide atomic crystal. The optimized catalyst shows a superior catalytic activity and durability for electrocatalytic HER in acidic medium. The study was published in Nature Communications.

Researchers innovated the preparation strategy, and developed a “bottom-up” chemical method to synthesize the uniform mesoporous MoS2 foam assisted by the SiO2 nanospheres as hard template. Various analysis approaches indicated that this structure can realize a triple-scale modulation.

The macro-scale uniform mesopores facilitate the transport of reactant (H3O+) and product (H2), and increase the accessibility of active sites. The nano-scale oriented vertical growth of MoS2 nanosheets around the mesopores increase the number of edges as the active sites. In the previous study, researchers introduced single-atom into the MoS2 2D framework.

Further doping transition metal Co atoms were introduced into the 2D plane substituting a part of Mo atoms, which can efficiently modify the electronic structure of surface S atoms, and thereby trigger their intrinsic catalytic activities.

In addition, experiments combined with density functional theory (DFT) calculations indicated that MoS2 with moderate Co atoms doping content possesses the optimal activity. The 3D MoS2 catalyst with the multiscale modulation demonstrated a high electrocatalytic HER performance, showing the potential to replace the noble metal catalyst.

Multiscale structural and electronic control strategy may open a new opportunity for the rational design of MoS2 in the catalytic study and application. And the involved concept can be extended to other energy-related process or other 2D materials.

This work is supported by Ministry of Science and Technology of China, National Natural Science Foundation of China, Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials (2011-iChEM).


(Editor: LIU Jia)


LU Xinyi

Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics

Phone: 86-411-84379201
E-mail: luxinyi@dicp.ac.cn

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