Ruthenium/Graphene-like Layered Carbon Composite as an Efficient Hydrogen Evolution Reaction Electrocatalyst

Efficient water splitting through electrocatalysis has been studied extensively in modern energy devices, while the development of catalysts with activity and stability comparable to those of Pt is still a great challenge. In this work, we successfully developed a facile route to synthesize graphene-like layered carbon (GLC) from a layered silicate template. The obtained GLC has layered structure similar to that of the template and can be used as support to load ultrasmall Ru nanoparticles on it in supercritical water. The specific structure and surface properties of GLC enable Ru nanoparticles to disperse highly uniformly on it even at a large loading amount (62 wt %). When the novel Ru/GLC was used as catalyst on a glass carbon electrode for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) in a 0.5 M H<sub>2</sub>SO<sub>4</sub> solution, it exhibits an extremely low onset potential of only 3 mV and a small Tafel slope of 46 mV/decade. The outstanding performance proved that Ru/GLC is highly active catalyst for HER, comparable with transition-metal dichalcogenides or selenides. As the price of ruthenium is much lower than platinum, our study shows that Ru/GLC might be a promising candidate as an HER catalyst in future energy applications.