Iron phosphides supported on three-dimensional iron foam as an efficient electrocatalyst for water splitting reactions

  • Yunpeng Wang
  • Bo MaEmail author
  • Yantao ChenEmail author
Energy materials


Development of inexpensive and high-performance electrocatalysts for water splitting is the major challenge for the scale-up production of gaseous hydrogen. Iron foam, which is composed of the second most abundant metal element on the earth, can boost the water splitting reactions after a simple treatment of surface phosphorization. The as-prepared electrocatalyst, which is denoted as FePx@Fe, exhibits an excellent activity in alkaline solutions, and requires overpotentials of 124 and 274 mV to approach 10 mA cm−2 for hydrogen evolution reaction and oxygen evolution reaction, respectively. Meanwhile, FePx@Fe also shows a remarkable performance on overall water splitting, which only needs 1.67 V to reach 10 mA cm−2 and exhibits a satisfying long-term durability. The fabrication strategy of surface phosphorization on iron foam to obtain FePx@Fe can be valuable for the application of non-noble-metal electrocatalysts toward water splitting.



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51702234) and the Natural Science Foundation of Tianjin City (No. 18JCQNJC78800).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10853_2019_3985_MOESM1_ESM.docx (11.6 mb)
Digital photo of the original IF and FePx@Fe; XRD patterns of FePx-4 and FePx-16; SEM image of the pre-cleaned IF; SEM image of the as-received IF without acid washing; SEM images of FePx-4 and FePx-16; SEM image of IF-400; SEM elemental mapping of Fe, P and O for FePx@Fe; N2 adsorption–desorption isotherms of FePx@Fe, FePx-4, FePx-16 and IF; EDX spectrum of the as-prepared FePx@Fe in TEM; XPS survey spectrum of FePx@Fe; TEM, HRTEM imaging and elemental mapping of FePx@Fe after the HER durability test; XRD patterns of FePx@Fe after HER and OER durability test; CV curves of FePx@Fe, FePx-4 and FePx-16 between 0.55 and 0.65 V (vs RHE) under different scan rates; TEM, HRTEM imaging and elemental mapping of FePx@Fe after the OER durability test; comparison of the electrocatalytic activity of FePx@Fe on HER with other recently reported TMP-based electrocatalysts in alkaline solution; comparison of the electrocatalytic activity of FePx@Fe on OER with other recently reported TMP-based electrocatalysts in alkaline solution; comparison of the electrocatalytic activity of FePx@Fe on overall water splitting with other reported TMP-based electrocatalysts in alkaline solution are included in Supplementary Information (DOCX 11919 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tianjin Key Laboratory for Photoelectric Materials and Devices, School of Materials Science and EngineeringTianjin University of TechnologyTianjinChina

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