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Nat Commun ; 10(1): 5336, 2019 Nov 20.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31748540


An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.

Nat Commun ; 10(1): 4916, 2019 10 29.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31664018


The electrochemical generation of hydrogen is a key enabling technology for the production of sustainable fuels. Transition metal chalcogenides show considerable promise as catalysts for this reaction, but to date there are very few reports of tellurides in this context, and none of these transition metal telluride catalysts are especially active. Here, we show that the catalytic performance of metallic 1T'-MoTe2 is improved dramatically when the electrode is held at cathodic bias. As a result, the overpotential required to maintain a current density of 10 mA cm-2 decreases from 320 mV to just 178 mV. We show that this rapid and reversible activation process has its origins in adsorption of H onto Te sites on the surface of 1T'-MoTe2. This activation process highlights the importance of subtle changes in the electronic structure of an electrode material and how these can influence the subsequent electrocatalytic activity that is displayed.

Nat Commun ; 10(1): 370, 2019 01 22.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30670694


The production of hydrogen through water splitting using earth-abundant metal catalysts is a promising pathway for converting solar energy into chemical fuels. However, existing approaches for fine stoichiometric control, structural and catalytic modification of materials by appropriate choice of earth abundant elements are either limited or challenging. Here we explore the tuning of redox active immobilised molecular metal-chalcoxide electrocatalysts by controlling the chalcogen or metal stoichiometry and explore critical aspects of the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). Linear sweep voltammetry (LSV) shows that stoichiometric and structural control leads to the evolution of hydrogen at low overpotential with no catalyst degradation over 1000 cycles. Density functional calculations reveal the effect of the electronic and structural features and confer plausibility to the existence of a unimolecular mechanism in the HER process based on the tested hypotheses. We anticipate these findings to be a starting point for further exploration of molecular catalytic systems.

Materials (Basel) ; 11(5)2018 May 17.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29772834


A novel method to obtain Al2O3⁻ZrO2 nanocomposites is presented. It consists of the co-precipitation step of boehmite (AlO(OH)) and ZrO2, followed by microwave hydrothermal treatment at 270 °C and 60 MPa, and by calcination at 600 °C. Using this method, we obtained two nanocomposites: Al2O3⁻20 wt % ZrO2 and Al2O3⁻40 wt % ZrO2. Nanocomposites were characterized by Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and transmission electron microscopy. Sintering behavior and thermal expansion coefficients were investigated during dilatometric tests. The sintering temperatures of the nanocomposites were 1209 °C and 1231 °C, respectively-approximately 100 °C lower than reported for such composites. We attribute the decrease of the sintering temperature to the specific nanostructure obtained using microwave hydrothermal treatment instead of conventional calcination. Microwave hydrothermal treatment resulted in a fine distribution of intermixed highly crystalline nanoparticles of boehmite and zirconia. Such intermixing prevented particle growth, which is a factor reducing sintering temperature. Further, due to reduced grain growth, stability of the θ-Al2O3 phase was extended up to 1200 °C, which enhances the sintering process as well. For the Al2O3⁻20 wt % ZrO2 composition, we observed stability of the zirconia tetragonal phase up to 1400 °C. We associate this stability with the mutual separation of zirconia nanoparticles in the alumina matrix.

Sci Rep ; 8(1): 3342, 2018 02 20.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29463823


We report on optimisation of the environmental stability and high temperature operation of surface transfer doping in hydrogen-terminated diamond using MoO3 and V2O5 surface acceptor layers. In-situ annealing of the hydrogenated diamond surface at 400 °C was found to be crucial to enhance long-term doping stability. High temperature sheet resistance measurements up to 300 °C were performed to examine doping thermal stability. Exposure of MoO3 and V2O5 transfer-doped hydrogen-terminated diamond samples up to a temperature of 300 °C in ambient air showed significant and irreversible loss in surface conductivity. Thermal stability was found to improve dramatically however when similar thermal treatment was performed in vacuum or in ambient air when the oxide layers were encapsulated with a protective layer of hydrogen silsesquioxane (HSQ). Inspection of the films by X-ray diffraction revealed greater crystallisation of the MoO3 layers following thermal treatment in ambient air compared to the V2O5 films which appeared to remain amorphous. These results suggest that proper encapsulation and passivation of these oxide materials as surface acceptor layers on hydrogen-terminated diamond is essential to maximise their environmental and thermal stability.