Activation of inert copper for significantly enhanced hydrogen evolution behaviors by trace ruthenium doping

Huawei Huang, Hyeonjung Jung, Shaofeng Li, Seongbeen Kim, Jeong Woo Han*, Jinwoo Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The application of metallic copper in hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) is severely restricted by its low intrinsic activity due to its surface properties that have large energy barriers for water dissociation and weak binding force to H*. Herein, we report an electronic structure engineering strategy to activate the inert Cu for significantly enhanced HER performance by trace doping of Ru (0.70 wt%). Experiments together with theoretical analysis reveal that the Ru dopants attract electrons from the Cu, resulting in the surface with lower energy barriers for the water dissociation process and optimized binding energy with H*. The synthesized Ru doped Cu only involved overpotentials of 33 and 34 mV to reach 10 mA cm-2 in alkali and acid, respectively, together with excellent long-term stability. This work presents an electronic engineering pathway to adjust the electrocatalysis behaviors of metallic copper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106763
JournalNano Energy
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government ( MSIT ) ( 2020R1A2C3004146 , 2019M3E6A1064706 , 2021M3H4A1A02049893 , 2021M3D1A2051605 ). This work was also conducted under the framework of the research and development program of the Korea Institute of Energy Research (C1–2440). H. Huang acknowledges the support from the Brain Pool Program through the NRF funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT ( 2020H1D3A1A02081018 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Copper
  • Electrocatalysis
  • Hydrogen evolution
  • Ru doping
  • Water splitting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Activation of inert copper for significantly enhanced hydrogen evolution behaviors by trace ruthenium doping'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this