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Catalytic Activity in Lithium-Treated Core–Shell MoOx/MoS2 Nanowires

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journal contribution
posted on 08.10.2015, 00:00 by Dustin R. Cummins, Ulises Martinez, Rajesh Kappera, Damien Voiry, Alejandro Martinez-Garcia, Jacek Jasinski, Dan Kelly, Manish Chhowalla, Aditya D. Mohite, Mahendra K. Sunkara, Gautam Gupta
Significant interest has grown in the development of earth-abundant and efficient catalytic materials for hydrogen generation. Layered transition metal dichalcogenides present opportunities for efficient electrocatalytic systems. Here, we report the modification of 1D MoOx/MoS2 core–shell nanostructures by lithium intercalation and the corresponding changes in morphology, structure, and mechanism of H2 evolution. The 1D nanowires exhibit significant improvement in H2 evolution properties after lithiation, reducing the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) onset potential by ∼50 mV and increasing the generated current density by ∼600%. The high electrochemical activity in the nanowires results from disruption of MoS2 layers in the outer shell, leading to increased activity and concentration of defect sites. This is in contrast to the typical mechanism of improved catalysis following lithium exfoliation, i.e., crystal phase transformation. These structural changes are verified by a combination of Raman and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS).