Because of the favorable mass transport and increased available active sites, the rational design and preparation of porous carbon structures are essential but still challenging. Herein, a novel and facile supramolecular anchoring strategy was developed to achieve the embedding of ruthenium (Ru) nanoparticles in N-doped mesoporous carbon nanospheres through pyrolyzing the precursor formed by coordination assembly between metal ions and zinc gluconate (G(Zn)). Featuring rich hydroxyl groups, the G(Zn) can effectively chelate Ru3+ via metal-oxygen bonds to form 3D supramolecular nanospheres, and meanwhile, mesopores in carbon nanospheres were expanded after subsequent pyrolysis thanks to the volatilization of zincic species at high temperature. As a demonstration, the best-performing catalyst displayed extraordinary activity for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) with a small overpotential of 43 mV versus reversible hydrogen electrode (vs RHE) at 10 mA/cm2 and a Tafel slope of 39 mV/dec, which was superior to that of commercial Pt/C in alkaline medium. Theoretical calculations revealed that the catalytic activity was significantly promoted by the strong electronic coupling between Ru nanoparticles and N-doped porous carbon, which increased the electron transfer capability and facilitated the adsorption and dissociation of H2O to realize an efficient HER.
- expanded mesoporous structure
- hydrogen evolution reaction
- strong electronic coupling
- superior performance
- supramolecular anchoring strategy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)