Nickel Nitride As an Electrocatalyst


Jan 28, 2023

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Nickel nitride is an important element for energy-related devices. It dissolves slowly in cold dilute acid. Therefore, it can be used as an electrocatalyst. Moreover, it shows low overpotential and excellent hydrogen evolution reaction activity. This nitride is also stable in humid air.

Nitrogen plasma can be used to synthesize nickel nitride nanostructures. This material can be used as an electrocatalyst in electrocatalytic H2 oxidation. Furthermore, it can be used to develop eco-friendly hydrogen production.

Metal nitrides have a higher hydrogen adsorption capacity than pure metals. The adsorption process is promoted by the hierarchical structure. This topology allows for easy access to active sites. Besides, its highly porous morphology facilitates mass transport. As a result, the hydrogen adsorption free energy changes are close to zero eV.

Nickel nitride is produced by heating nickel powder to 4,450 deg in ammonia gas stream. In addition, two additional nickel nitrides were prepared by nitriding Ni foams in nitrogen plasma. XPS analyses were performed to investigate the chemical composition of the samples. Moreover, EDX line scans were performed to evaluate the surface oxide concentration.

A high-resolution Ni 2p3/2 spectrum was obtained. Among the features, the dominant ones were oxidized carbon (288.6 eV) and C-C bond (852.4 eV). From the spectral analyses, it is clear that metallic Ni is present in both the samples. Moreover, a new hydroxide peak evolved in the O 1s spectrum.

The stability of the nitride is good. Compared with stoichimetric Ni3N, the Ni3N/Ni(OH)2 catalyst exhibits lower overpotentials. At the same time, its hydrogen evolution reaction activity is higher than that of the other nitride-based HER electrocatalysts.

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