Cobalt phosphide nanoarrays with crystalline-amorphous hybrid phase for hydrogen production in universal-pH


To accomplish mass hydrogen production by electrochemical water-splitting, it is a necessary to develop robust, highly active, stable, and cost-effective hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) electrocatalysts that perform comparably to Pt in the universal pH range. In this work, cobalt phosphide hybrid nanosheets supported on carbon felt (CoP HNS/CF) are presented, which exhibit the superior electrocatalytic hydrogen production under a universal-pH. In these nanosheets, a single CoP HNS is composed of polycrystalline CoP and oxygen-enriched amorphous Co-O-P phase. Benefiting from its unique nanoarchitecture, as-fabricated CoP HNS/CF exhibits a tremendous electrocatalytic HER activity and outperforms Pt/C as well as state-of-the-art CoP electrocatalysts in universal-pH. In acidic and neutral media, the CoP HNS/CF shows superior electrocatalytic activity while maintaining its original hybrid crystalline-amorphous phase and morphology. In alkaline medium, the unexpected phase and morphological reorganization of CoP HNS/CF results in outstanding electrocatalytic operation. CoP HNS/CF not only achieves high electrocatalytic activity and kinetics, but also a stable and long operating lifetime even under a high current density of 500 mA·cm−2. Furthermore, the fabrication of CoP HNS/CF can be scaled up easily, and the large CoP HNS/CF electrode also exhibits similar electrocatalytic activity and stability.

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  • 02 July 2020

    The contributions of the first two authors were unfortunately misrepresented on the first page and the first page of the ESM.


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This work is supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) Grant funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT, South Korea (No. 2016M3A7B4909318). We thank the Korea Basic Science Institute (KBSI) for the technical support. Microstructural images were obtained using a Hitachi SU-70 scanning electron microscope at the KBSI.

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Correspondence to Dong-Wan Kim.

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Yoon, H., Song, H.J., Ju, B. et al. Cobalt phosphide nanoarrays with crystalline-amorphous hybrid phase for hydrogen production in universal-pH. Nano Res. (2020).

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  • cobalt phosphide
  • self-supporting
  • electrocatalyst
  • hydrogen evolution reaction
  • universal-pH
  • large-scale