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CdS@Ni₃S₂ core–shell nanorod arrays on nickel foam: a multifunctional catalyst for efficient electrochemical catalytic, photoelectrochemical and photocatalytic H₂ production reaction

Guan, Haojian, Zhang, Shengsen, Cai, Xin, Gao, Qiongzhi, Yu, Xiaoyuan, Zhou, Xiaosong, Peng, Feng, Fang, Yueping, Yang, Siyuan
Journal of materials chemistry A 2019 v.7 no.6 pp. 2560-2574
clean energy, electrochemistry, foams, fuels, guidelines, hydrogen, hydrogen production, models, nanorods, nanosheets, nickel, photocatalysis, photocatalysts, production technology, synergism
Producing green hydrogen fuel from water is one of the most promising strategies for sustainable and clean energy supply in the future. Seeking for highly efficient, noble-metal-free and stable catalysts for typical electrochemical catalytic (EC), photoelectrochemical (PEC) and photocatalytic (PC) hydrogen production has attracted much attention. In this work, for the first time, we rationally designed and fabricated an innovative class of CdS@Ni₃S₂ core–shell nanorod arrays (CSNS) on Ni foam. Thanks to the synergistic effect and catalytic role transformation between CdS nanorods and Ni₃S₂ nanosheets, CSNS was determined to be a new type of multifunctional noble-metal-free catalyst, which exhibited highly stable and efficient H₂ production properties in EC, PEC and PC hydrogen production systems. Specifically, with an optimal Ni₃S₂ shell thickness, CSNS achieved its highest PEC activity with an applied bias photon-to-current conversion efficiency (ABPE) of 7.9% and an extremely high H₂ production rate of 112.5 μmol cm⁻² min⁻¹. Moreover, a series of inconsistent catalytic behaviors were found during the EC, PEC and PC hydrogen production procedures. By establishing three corresponding charge separation and transfer models, the underlying catalytic mechanisms and the dominant role transformations between CdS and Ni₃S₂ in these three catalytic systems were systematically investigated. This study provides a new strategy and guidelines for searching for suitable photocatalysts/electrocatalysts and core–shell multifunctional catalysts which can be used in an optional H₂ production system.