Hierarchical Nanoassembly of MoS2/Co9S8/Ni3S2/Ni as a Highly Efficient Electrocatalyst for Overall Water Splitting in a Wide pH Range

Yan Yang, Huiqin Yao, Zihuan Yu, Saiful M. Islam, Haiying He, Mengwei Yuan, Yonghai Yue, Kang Xu, Weichang Hao, Genban Sun, Huifeng Li, Shulan Ma*, Peter Zapol, Mercouri G. Kanatzidis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

275 Scopus citations


The design of low-cost yet high-efficiency electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER) over a wide pH range is highly challenging. We now report a hierarchical co-assembly of interacting MoS2 and Co9S8 nanosheets attached on Ni3S2 nanorod arrays which are supported on nickel foam (NF). This tiered structure endows high performance toward HER and OER over a very broad pH range. By adjusting the molar ratio of the Co:Mo precursors, we have created CoMoNiS-NF-xy composites (x:y means Co:Mo molar ratios ranging from 5:1 to 1:3) with controllable morphology and composition. The three-dimensional composites have an abundance of active sites capable of universal pH catalytic HER and OER activity. The CoMoNiS-NF-31 demonstrates the best electrocatalytic activity, giving ultralow overpotentials (113, 103, and 117 mV for HER and 166, 228, and 405 mV for OER) to achieve a current density of 10 mA cm-2 in alkaline, acidic, and neutral electrolytes, respectively. It also shows a remarkable balance between electrocatalytic activity and stability. Based on the distinguished catalytic performance of CoMoNiS-NF-31 toward HER and OER, we demonstrate a two-electrode electrolyzer performing water electrolysis over a wide pH range, with low cell voltages of 1.54, 1.45, and 1.80 V at 10 mA cm-2 in alkaline, acidic, and neutral media, respectively. First-principles calculations suggest that the high OER activity arises from electron transfer from Co9S8 to MoS2 at the interface, which alters the binding energies of adsorbed species and decreases overpotentials. Our results demonstrate that hierarchical metal sulfides can serve as highly efficient all-pH (pH = 0-14) electrocatalysts for overall water splitting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10417-10430
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jul 3 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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