General Strategy for Preparation of Porous Nickel Phosphide Nanosheets on Arbitrary Substrates toward Efficient Hydrogen Generation

Cun Hu, Jinguang Cai, Shuai Liu, Chao Lv, Junhong Luo, Ming Duan, Changan Chen, Yan Shi, Jiangfeng Song, Zhi Zhang, Akira Watanabe, Eiji Aoyagi, Shun Ito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Nickel phosphides have been widely explored for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) due to their high activity and durability. To date, however, it is still a big challenge to develop facile and scalable approaches to preparing nickel phosphide structures with high HER performance for practical applications. Here, a general strategy is demonstrated for facile preparation of porous nickel phosphide nanosheets on arbitrary substrates by electroless Ni plating on the substrate followed by a convenient and stable phosphidation reaction. Typical porous nickel phosphide nanosheets (Ni5P4/NiP2/Ni2P) supported on carbon cloth show excellent electrocatalytic HER activities in acidic electrolyte with very small overpotentials of 63 mV and 120 mV to attain current densities of 10 mA cm-2 and 100 mA cm-2, respectively, and a very low Tafel slope of 47.3 mV dec-1, which are among the best results compared to other non-noble HER electrocatalysts. Furthermore, the electrode exhibits superior flexibility and outstanding durability with negligible degradation under either an accelerated degradation test for 5000 cyclic voltammetry cycles or a durability test under a constant current density of 10 mA cm-2 for 168 h. The excellent HER performance is contributed by the high specific surface area of porous nanosheets and the synergistic effect among Ni5P4, NiP2, and Ni2P phases. Besides, the porous nickel phosphide nanosheets grown on a large-area carbon cloth film via the same method show nearly the same high HER activities, suggesting a high potential for practical application. In addition, this strategy is employed to prepare porous nickel phosphide nanostructures on arbitrary substrates, even elaborate leaf vein and silkworm cocoon, with remarkable HER activities. The preparation method reported here is practical and scalable and can be extended to produce transition-metal-based structures on appropriate substrates for various applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1036-1045
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 27


  • arbitrary substrates
  • electroless nickel plating
  • hydrogen evolution reaction
  • phosphidation reaction
  • porous nickel phosphide nanosheets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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