Unusual synergistic effect in layered Ruddlesden-Popper oxide enables ultrafast hydrogen evolution.


Jiangsu National Synergetic Innovation Center for Advanced Materials (SICAM), State Key Laboratory of Materials-Oriented Chemical Engineering, College of Chemical Engineering, Nanjing Tech University, No. 5 Xin Mofan Road, 210009, Nanjing, P.R. China. [Email]


Efficient electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution reaction are key to realize clean hydrogen production through water splitting. As an important family of functional materials, transition metal oxides are generally believed inactive towards hydrogen evolution reaction, although many of them show high activity for oxygen evolution reaction. Here we report the remarkable electrocatalytic activity for hydrogen evolution reaction of a layered metal oxide, Ruddlesden-Popper-type Sr2RuO4 with alternative perovskite layer and rock-salt SrO layer, in an alkaline solution, which is comparable to those of the best electrocatalysts ever reported. By theoretical calculations, such excellent activity is attributed mainly to an unusual synergistic effect in the layered structure, whereby the (001) SrO-terminated surface cleaved in rock-salt layer facilitates a barrier-free water dissociation while the active apical oxygen site in perovskite layer promotes favorable hydrogen adsorption and evolution. Moreover, the activity of such layered oxide can be further improved by electrochemistry-induced activation.