RhCo alloy nanotubes were synthesized via the reduction of single-phase Co2RhO4 nanotubes. The reduction was conducted by thermal annealing of the Co2RhO4 nanotubes under hydrogen gas flow. The crystallinity of the prepared RhCo alloy nanotubes depended on the reduction temperature: amorphous phase (200 °C reduction) and the crystalline phase (300 °C reduction). The hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) on RhCo alloys was investigated with voltammetry in 1.0 M HClO4 solution. Amorphous RhCo alloys provided lower overpotential than the crystalline counterpart despite their similar morphology and composition. Of great interest, amorphous RhCo alloy nanotubes exhibited an outstanding HER electroactivity verified with a low overpotential at -10 mA cm-2 (-22 mV) and a small Tafel slope (-24.1 mV dec-1), outperforming commercial Pt, pure Rh metal, and the other previously reported Rh-based catalysts. This excellent HER activity of amorphous RhCo nanotubes was attributed to the amorphous structure having a large electrochemical surface area and maximized Rh-Co interfaces in the alloy facilitating HER. Active but expensive Rh alloyed with less active but cheap Co was successfully demonstrated as a potential cost-effective HER catalyst.
- alloy nanotubes
- hydrogen evolution reaction