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A Superlattice of Alternately Stacked Ni–Fe Hydroxide Nanosheets and Graphene for Efficient Splitting of Water

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-02-24, 00:00 authored by Wei Ma, Renzhi Ma, Chengxiang Wang, Jianbo Liang, Xiaohe Liu, Kechao Zhou, Takayoshi Sasaki
Cost-effective electrocatalysts based on nonprecious metals for efficient water splitting are crucial for various technological applications represented by fuel cell. Here, 3d transition metal layered double hydroxides (LDHs) with varied contents of Ni and Fe were successfully synthesized through a homogeneous precipitation. The exfoliated Ni–Fe LDH nanosheets were heteroassembled with graphene oxide (GO) as well as reduced graphene oxide (rGO) into superlattice-like hybrids, in which two kinds of oppositely charged nanosheets are stacked face-to-face in alternating sequence. Heterostructured composites of Ni2/3Fe1/3 LDH nanosheets and GO (Ni2/3Fe1/3-GO) exhibited an excellent oxygen evolution reaction (OER) efficiency with a small overpotential of about 0.23 V and Tafel slope of 42 mV/decade. The activity was further improved via the combination of Ni2/3Fe1/3 LDH nanosheets with more conductive rGO (Ni2/3Fe1/3-rGO) to achieve an overpotential as low as 0.21 V and Tafel plot of 40 mV/decade. The catalytic activity was enhanced with an increased Fe content in the bimetallic Ni–Fe system. Moreover, the composite catalysts were found to be effective for hydrogen evolution reaction. An electrolyzer cell powered by a single AA battery of 1.5 V was demonstrated by using the bifunctional catalysts.