Black Phosphorus Nanosheets for Catalysis

Black Phosphorus Nanosheets for Catalysis

Author: Lisa-Marie Rauschendorfer

The oxygen evolution reaction (OER) from water could be important for future energy supply and requires effective catalysts. Since the commonly used noble-metal oxides are highly expensive, the discovery and development of earth-abundant alternatives would be useful. Black phosphorus (BP) is the least reactive allotrope of phosphorus and is obtained from heating white phosphorus under high pressure.

Xiang Qi, Xiangtan University, China, Han Zhang, Shenzhen University, China, and colleagues have analyzed the catalytic activity of few-layer BP nanosheets synthesized from bulk BP by liquid exfoliation. The team investigated the OER performance in a standard three-electrode cell with potassium hydroxide (KOH) as the electrolyte for different OH concentrations.

The researchers found that compared to bulk BP, the electrochemical activity of BP nanosheets is greatly improved and that BP nanosheets show OER properties comparable to metal oxide-based catalysts, such as IrO2. Hence, the reduction of the thickness of BP is an effective way to generate additional active sites and considerable high electronic mobility. As a further benefit, the BP nanosheets show high stability under alkaline conditions.


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