Rague-Like FeP Nanocrystal Assembly on Carbon Cloth: An Exceptionally Efficient and Stable Cathode for Hydrogen Evolution

Xiulin Yang, Ang-Yu Lu, Yihan Zhu, Shixiong Min, Mohamed N. Hedhili, Yu Han, Kuo-Wei Huang, Lain-Jong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


There is a strong demand to replace expensive Pt catalysts with cheap metal sulfides or phosphides for hydrogen generation in water electrolysis. The earth-abundant Fe can be electroplated on carbon cloth (CC) to form high surface area rague-like FeOOH assembly. Subsequent gas phase phosphidation converts the FeOOH to FeP or FeP2 and the morphology of the crystal assembly is controlled by the phosphidation temperature. The FeP prepared at 250 oC presents lower crystallinity and those prepared at higher temperatures 400 oC and 500 oC possess higher crystallinity but lower surface area. The phosphidation at 300 oC produces nanocrystalline FeP and preserves the high-surface area morphology; thus it exhibits the highest HER efficiency in 0.5 M H2SO4; i.e. the required overpotential to reach 10 and 20 mA/cm2 is 34 and 43 mV respectively. These values are lowest among the reported non-precious metal phosphides on CC. The Tafel slope for the FeP prepared at 300 oC is around 29.2 mV/dec comparable to that of Pt/CC, indicating that the hydrogen evolution for our best FeP is limited by Tafel reaction (same as Pt). Importantly, the FeP/CC catalyst exhibits much better stability in a wide range working current density (up to 1 V/cm2), suggesting that it is a promising replacement of Pt for HER.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10974-10981
Number of pages8
Issue number25
StatePublished - 2015

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