News Release

A review of defect engineering in two-dimensional materials for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy Sciences

Figure Abstract

image: Defect engineering is an effective strategy to modify 2D materials for enhanced HER activity. By structuring edge defects, vacancy defects and dopant derived defects, the electronic structure and geometrical configuration of 2D materials can be regulated to increase effective active sites, accelerate the charge transfer and reduce the energy barrier, thus improving the catalytic properties. view more 

Credit: Chinese Journal of Catalysis

With the speedy exploitation and fossil fuel consumption, environmental deterioration is becoming increasingly obvious. Hydrogen energy is deemed as one of the most promising candidates to substitute fossil fuels, because it is clean, abundant, renewable and eco-friendly. Currently, water splitting devices are used to generate hydrogen. With the flexibility and applicability, they have become the research focus nowadays, and electrocatalysis plays a crucial role in these devices. In the process of water electrolysis, there are two electrode reactions, namely oxygen evolution reaction (OER) and hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). The overall efficiency of hydrogen production is still not ideal due to large overpotentials of both cathode and anode reactions. Therefore, it is of great significance to develop efficient and economical HER electrocatalysts to reduce overpotentials. Although precious metals and/or their oxides show superior electrocatalytic performance of HER/OER, the application of precious metal catalysts is largely restricted by their scarcity and high cost.

Due to high exposure rate of surface atoms, it is feasible to modify 2D materials with surface functionalization, element doping, and defect, and strain or phase engineering. Defect engineering is an effective way to regulate electrocatalytic performance of 2D materials. The existence of defects can not only tune electronic structure, but also increase the number of effective active sites for enhanced HER activity. Therefore, the construction of defect sites in 2D materials plays an important role for the regulation of their catalytic performance.

Recently, a research team led by Jingqi Guan, associate professor of Jilin University (China), reported a review paper on electrocatalysis in Chinese Journal of Catalysis ( The review introduces how to construct various defects (i.e. edge defects, vacancy defects, and dopant derived defects) in 2D materials and their structure-function relationship in HER. The main contents of this review include the construction method of defect sites, the structure of defect sites, the relationship between different defect configuration and formation energies, and hydrogen adsorption Gibbs free energy at different adsorption sites.


About the Journal

Chinese Journal of Catalysis is co-sponsored by Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Chemical Society, and it is currently published by Elsevier group. This monthly journal publishes in English timely contributions of original and rigorously reviewed manuscripts covering all areas of catalysis. The journal publishes Reviews, Accounts, Communications, Articles, Highlights, Perspectives, and Viewpoints of highly scientific values that help understanding and defining of new concepts in both fundamental issues and practical applications of catalysis. Chinese Journal of Catalysis ranks among the top six journals in Applied Chemistry with a current SCI impact factor of 8.271. The Editors-in-Chief are Profs. Can Li and Tao Zhang.

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