Delocalization of d-electrons induced by cation coupling in ultrathin Chevrel-phase NiMo3S4 nanosheets for efficient electrochemical water splitting

Sundaram Chandrasekaran, Tingting Ma, Zhichang Hu, Qianying Liu, Chao Zhan, Yan Li, Chris Bowen, Huidan Lu, Yongping Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (SciVal)


Chevrel-phase metal sulfides are known to be promising materials for energy conversion and storage applications. However, a detailed understanding of the intrinsic kinetic mechanisms of electrocatalytic bifunctional hydrogen and oxygen evolution reactions (HER/OER) on NiMo3S4-based Chevrel-phases is lacking. Herein, novel ultrathin self-assembled nanosheets of NiMo3S4 are coupled with transition metal atoms (M/N-NiMo3S4; where M = Co, Fe, and Cu) were formed by a facile hydrothermal approach. Notably, the Co/N-NiMo3S4 electrocatalyst exhibits excellent performance in terms of ultralow overpotentials of 78, 208, 282, and 307 mV at 10, 100, 500, and 1000 mA cm−2 for the HER; and 186, 204, and 225 mV at 50, 100, and 300 mA cm−2 for the OER, respectively. Experimental and first principle calculations demonstrate that Co atoms coupling with edge Ni atoms results in d‐electron delocalization on Co/N-NiMo3S4, signifying the efficient charge transfer to improve overall water electrolysis. In addition, an upshift in the d‐band center of Co/N-NiMo3S4 can optimize the free energies of a variety of reaction intermediates for water adsorption and dissociation; thereby facilitating the robust alkaline overall water electrolysis at 1.47 V. This work therefore greatly deepens the understanding of the bifunctional hydrogen and oxygen evolution reaction of Chevrel-phase electrocatalysts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123007
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
Early online date16 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China ( 22262010 , 22062005 , 22165005 , U20A20128 ), Guangxi Science and Technology Fund for Distinguished High-Talent Introduction Program ( AC22035091 ), Guangxi Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars ( 2019GXNSFFA245016 ), and the Scientific Research Start-Up Project Program of the Guilin University of Technology ( 2000002183 ), Guilin, PR China.


  • Bifunctional electrocatalysts
  • Chevrel-phase
  • d-electron delocalization
  • NiMoS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Environmental Science
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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