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


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.

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

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Correspondence to Bo Ma or Yantao Chen.

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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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Wang, Y., Ma, B. & Chen, Y. Iron phosphides supported on three-dimensional iron foam as an efficient electrocatalyst for water splitting reactions. J Mater Sci 54, 14872–14883 (2019).

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