Ultrafine nanoporous intermetallic catalysts by high-temperature liquid metal dealloying for electrochemical hydrogen production

RR Song and JH Han and M Okugawa and R Belosludov and T Wada and J Jiang and DX Wei and A Kudo and Y Tian and MW Chen and H Kato, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 13, 5157 (2022).

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-32768-1

Intermetallic compounds formed from non-precious transition metals are promising cost-effective and robust catalysts for electrochemical hydrogen production. However, the development of monolithic nanoporous intermetallics, with ample active sites and sufficient electrocatalytic activity, remains a challenge. Here we report the fabrication of nanoporous Co7Mo6 and Fe7Mo6 intermetallic compounds via liquid metal dealloying. Along with the development of three-dimensional bicontinuous open porosity, high-temperature dealloying overcomes the kinetic energy barrier, enabling the direct formation of chemically ordered intermetallic phases. Unprecedented small characteristic lengths are observed for the nanoporous intermetallic compounds, resulting from an intermetallic effect whereby the chemical ordering during nanopore formation lowers surface diffusivity and significantly suppresses the thermal coarsening of dealloyed nanostructure. The resulting ultrafine nanoporous Co7Mo6 exhibits high catalytic activity and durability in electrochemical hydrogen evolution reactions. This study sheds light on the previously unexplored intermetallic effect in dealloying and facilitates the development of advanced intermetallic catalysts for energy applications. Nanoscale intermetallic compounds are promising catalysts but the synthesis remains a challenge. The authors develop a dealloying technique to fabricate nanoporous intermetallic electrocatalysts with fine structures for efficient hydrogen production.

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