Duan, H., Li, D., Tang, Y., He, Y., Ji, S., Wang, R., Lv, H., Lopes, P. P., Paulikas, A. P., Li, H., Mao, S. X., Wang, C., Markovic, N. M., Li, J.*, Stamenkovic, V. R.* & Li, Y.*
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139 (15), 5494-5502.
The search for active, stable, and cost-efficient electrocatalysts for hydrogen production via water splitting could make a substantial impact on energy technologies that do not rely on fossil fuels. Here we report the synthesis of rhodium phosphide electrocatalyst with low metal loading in the form of nanocubes (NCs) dispersed in high-surface-area carbon (Rh2P/C) by a facile solvo-thermal approach. The Rh2P/C NCs exhibit remarkable performance for hydrogen evolution reaction and oxygen evolution reaction compared to Rh/C and Pt/C catalysts. The atomic structure of the Rh2P NCs was directly observed by annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy, which revealed a phosphorus-rich outermost atomic layer. Combined experimental and computational studies suggest that surface phosphorus plays a crucial role in determining the robust catalyst properties.