Recently, transition metal chalcogenides and phosphides have been increasingly reported as efficient and stable oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalysts in alkaline medium, despite the fact that they are thermodynamically unstable under highly oxidative potentials. Here the active forms of these materials are elucidated by synthesizing a hybrid catalyst, which has a metal chalcogenide in the form of CoSe2 and metal phosphide in the form of CoP—CoSe2|CoP. Both CoSe2 and CoP in the as-prepared catalyst are completely transformed into their respective oxyhydroxides and hydroxides, which are, in fact, the true OER-active species in alkaline medium and not the selenide and phosphide themselves. The derived oxides from the hybrid catalyst deliver an excellent OER activity by reaching a current density of 10 mA cm−2 at a low overpotential of 240 mV (vs reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE)) and a Tafel slope of 46.6 mV dec−1. The stability of the derived oxyhydroxide/hydroxide catalyst shows no appreciable deactivation during 120 h of continuous electrolysis, displaying an extraordinary operational stability.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The authors acknowledge the financial support provided by the New and Renewable Energy Core Technology Program of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP, Grant No. 20173010032080). The authors thank Dr. Purushothaman Varadhan (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, KAUST, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and Dr. V. Ranjith Kumar who spent their valuable time for helping them to achieve a clearer structure.