High-performance diluted nickel nanoclusters decorating ruthenium nanowires for pH-universal overall water splitting

Ting Zhu, Shangheng Liu, Bin Huang, Qi Shao, Man Wang, Fan Li, Xinyue Tan, Yecan Pi, Shih Chang Weng, Bolong Huang, Zhiwei Hu, Jianbo Wu, Yong Qian, Xiaoqing Huang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Developing a versatile electrocatalyst with remarkable performance viable for pH-universal overall water splitting is increasingly important for the industrial production of renewable energy conversion. Herein, our theoretical calculations predicate that the limitations in the mean-field behavior from the traditional catalyst designing strategy can be largely overcome by introducing diluted metal nanoclusters, which can give an optimal thermodynamic effect for enhancing electron-transfer capability, and in turn promote the activation of initial water-dissociation for both the hydrogen evolution reaction and oxygen evolution reaction. As a proof of concept, a unique catalyst, namely diluted nickel nanocluster-decorated ruthenium nanowires, was explored as a high-performance electrocatalyst for overall water splitting. The optimized catalyst delivered record activity for overall water splitting in a wide pH range from 0 to 14 with all the potentials lower than 1.454 V to achieve the current density of 10 mA cm-2, largely outperforming the Pt/C-Ir/C integrated couple. It also readily reaches a high current density, of up to 100 mA cm-2, with a low voltage of only 1.55 V applied. It is further demonstrated that the diluted nickel nanoclusters can strongly anchor on the ruthenium nanowires, contributing to the enhanced stability after the long-term tests. The diluted metal nanocluster-enhanced strategy highlights a general pathway for the rational design of catalysts with unprecedented performance for electrocatalysis and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3194-3202
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution

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