Stabilizing Low-Valence Single Atoms by Constructing Metalloid Tungsten Carbide Supports for Efficient Hydrogen Oxidation and Evolution
Angewandte Chemie - International Edition
Designing novel single-atom catalysts (SACs) supports to modulate the electronic structure is crucial to optimize the catalytic activity, but rather challenging. Herein, a general strategy is proposed to utilize the metalloid properties of supports to trap and stabilize single-atoms with low-valence states. A series of single-atoms supported on the surface of tungsten carbide (M-WCx, M=Ru, Ir, Pd) are rationally developed through a facile pyrolysis method. Benefiting from the metalloid properties of WCx, the single-atoms exhibit weak coordination with surface W and C atoms, resulting in the formation of low-valence active centers similar to metals. The unique metal-metal interaction effectively stabilizes the low-valence single atoms on the WCx surface and improves the electronic orbital energy level distribution of the active sites. As expected, the representative Ru-WCx exhibits superior mass activities of 7.84 and 62.52 A mgRu−1 for the hydrogen oxidation and evolution reactions (HOR/HER), respectively. In-depth mechanistic analysis demonstrates that an ideal dual-sites cooperative mechanism achieves a suitable adsorption balance of Had and OHad, resulting in an energetically favorable Volmer step. This work offers new guidance for the precise construction of highly active SACs.
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National Natural Science Foundation of China