Research Article

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2020, 13(4): 975–982

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https://doi.org/10.1007/s12274-020-2727-7

In-situ growth of Ni nanoparticle-encapsulated N-doped carbon nanotubes on carbon nanorods for efficient hydrogen evolution electrocatalysis

Xiaoxiao Yan1,2, Minyi Gu2, Yao Wang2, Lin Xu2 (*), Yawen Tang2, and Renbing Wu1 (*)

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1 Department of Materials Science, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
2 Jiangsu Key Laboratory of New Power Batteries, Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Centre of Biomedical Functional Materials, School of Chemistry and Materials Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China

Keywords: hydrogen evolution reaction, nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes, Ni nanoparticles, carbon nanorods, hierarchically branched structure
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Searching for inexpensive, efficient and durable electrocatalysts with earth-abundant elements toward the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) is of vital importance for the future sustainable hydrogen economy, yet still remains a formidable challenge. Herein, a facile template-engaged strategy is demonstrated for the direct in-situ growth of Ni nanoparticles and N-doped carbon nanotubes on carbon nanorod substrates, forming a hierarchically branched architecture (abbreviated as Ni@N-C NT/NRs hereafter). The elaborate construction of such unique hierarchical structure with tightly encapsulated Ni nanoparticles and open configuration endows the as-fabricated Ni@N-C NT/NRs with abundant well-dispersed active sites, enlarged surface area, reduced resistances of charge transfer and mass diffusion, and reinforced mechanical robustness. As a consequence, the optimal Ni@N-C NT/NR catalyst demonstrates superior electrocatalytic activity with relatively low overpotential of 134 mV to deliver a current density of 10 mA·cm−2 and excellent stability for HER in 0.1 M KOH, holding a great promise for practical scalable H2 production. More importantly, this work offers a reliable methodology for feasible fabrication of robust high-performance carbon-based hierarchical architectures for a variety of electrochemical applications.
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In-situ growth of Ni nanoparticle-encapsulated N-doped carbon nanotubes on carbon nanorods for efficient hydrogen evolution electrocatalysis. Nano Res. 2020, 13(4): 975–982 https://doi.org/10.1007/s12274-020-2727-7

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