Active hydrogen evolution through lattice distortion in metallic MoTe2

Jinbong Seok, Jun Ho Lee, Suyeon Cho, Byungdo Ji, Hyo Won Kim, Min Kwon, Dohyun Kim, Young Min Kim, Sang Ho Oh, Sung Wng Kim, Young Hee Lee, Young Woo Son, Heejun Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Engineering surface atoms of transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) is a promising way to design catalysts for efficient electrochemical reactions including the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). However, materials processing based on TMDs, such as vacancy creation or edge exposure, for active HER, has resulted in insufficient atomic-precision lattice homogeneity and a lack of clear understanding of HER over 2D materials. Here, we report a durable and effective HER at atomically defined reaction sites in 2D layered semimetallic MoTe2 with intrinsic turnover frequency (TOF) of 0.14 s-1 at 0 mV overpotential, which cannot be explained by the traditional volcano plot analysis. Unlike former electrochemical catalysts, the rate-determining step of the HER on the semimetallic MoTe2, hydrogen adsorption, drives Peierls-type lattice distortion that, together with a surface charge density wave, unexpectedly enhances the HER. The active HER using unique 2D features of layered TMDs enables an optimal design of electrochemical catalysts and paves the way for a hydrogen economy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number025061
Journal2D Materials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • Hydrogen evolution reaction
  • Peierls-type lattice distortion
  • Scanning tunneling microscopy
  • Surface charge density wave
  • Transition metal dichalcogenides


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