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Layered transition metal dichalcogenide electrochemistry: journey across the periodic table

Xinyi Chia, Martin Pumera
Chemical Society reviews 2018 v.47 no.15 pp. 5602-5613
anisotropy, carbon footprint, electrochemistry, elemental composition, hydrogen, hydrogen production, molybdenum disulfide
Studies on layered transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), in particular for Group VIB TMDs like MoS₂ and WS₂, have long reached a crescendo in the realms of electrochemical applications initiated by their remarkable catalytic and electronic properties. One area that garnered considerable attention is the fervent pursuit of layered TMDs as electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), driven by global efforts towards reducing carbon footprint and attaining hydrogen economy. This Tutorial Review captures the essence of electrochemistry of different classes of layered TMDs and metal chalcogenides across the period table and showcases their tuneable electrochemical and HER catalytic attributes that are governed by the elemental composition, structure and anisotropy. Of interest to the assiduously studied Group VIB TMDs, we describe the role of elemental constituents and material purity in aspects of surface composition and structure, on their electrochemistry. Across families of layered TMDs in the periodic table, we highlight the apparent trends in their electrochemical and electrocatalytic properties through diligent comparison. Inevitably, these trends vary according to the type of chalcogen or transition metal that constitutes the eventual TMD. Beyond layered TMDs, we discuss the electrochemistry and recent progress in HER electrocatalysis of other layered metal chalcogenides that are overshadowed by the success of Group VIB TMDs. At the pinnacle of the emergent applications of layered TMDs, it is prudent to demystify the intrinsic electrochemical behaviour that originates from the participation of the elemental constitution of transition metal or chalcogen. Moreover, knowledge of the catalytic and electronic properties of the various TMD families and emerging trends across the period or down the group is of paramount importance when introducing or refining their prospective uses. The annotations in this Tutorial Review are envisioned to promote discourse into the catalytic and electrochemical trends of TMDs that is currently absent.