Design of active and stable Co-Mo-Sx chalcogels as pH-universal catalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction

Jakub Staszak-Jirkovský, Christos D. Malliakas, Pietro P. Lopes, Nemanja Danilovic, Subrahmanyam S. Kota, Kee Chul Chang, Bostjan Genorio, Dusan Strmcnik, Vojislav R. Stamenkovic, Mercouri G. Kanatzidis*, Nenad M. Markovic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

719 Scopus citations


Three of the fundamental catalytic limitations that have plagued the electrochemical production of hydrogen for decades still remain: low efficiency, short lifetime of catalysts and a lack of low-cost materials. Here, we address these three challenges by establishing and exploring an intimate functional link between the reactivity and stability of crystalline (CoS2 and MoS2) and amorphous (CoSx and MoSx) hydrogen evolution catalysts. We propose that Co2+ and Mo4+ centres promote the initial discharge of water (alkaline solutions) or hydronium ions (acid solutions). We establish that although CoSx materials are more active than MoSx they are also less stable, suggesting that the active sites are defects formed after dissolution of Co and Mo cations. By combining the higher activity of CoSx building blocks with the higher stability of MoSx units into a compact and robust CoMoSx chalcogel structure, we are able to design a low-cost alternative to noble metal catalysts for efficient electrocatalytic production of hydrogen in both alkaline and acidic environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-203
Number of pages7
JournalNature materials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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