Molybdenum Borides for Hydrogen Evolution Reaction: Theoretical Study and Experimental Proof

Monday, 2 October 2017: 15:20
National Harbor 5 (Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center)
B. P. T. Fokwa (UC Riverside)
In recent years’ molybdenum-based materials have been considered as alternative catalysts to noble metals, such as platinum, for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) [1, 2]. We have synthesized bulk binary metal borides (Mo2B, MoB and MoB2) by arc-melting as well as MoB and MoB2 at the nanoscale by solid-state reaction and study their electrocatalytic activity towards HER in acid conditions for the first time. Among all the binary molybdenum borides, MoB2 shows excellent HER activity in both micro- and nanoscale. However, the nanoscale MoB2 shows a lower onset overpotential of about 150 mV compared to microscale MoB2 under same conditions. The electrochemical studies clearly indicating that the HER activity was greatly dependent on their crystallographic structures (boron-dependency) as well as particle size [2]. Also, our recent density functional theory (DFT) calculations on MoB2 suggest that boron is playing a prominent role in the catalytic activity of this compound. Detailed synthetic procedures, electrochemical properties and DFT calculations for these binary molybdenum borides will be discussed.


  1. J. Guo, J. Wang, Z. Wu, W. Lei, J. Zhu, K. Xia and D. Wang, J. Mater. Chem. A 5 (2017) 4879-4885.
  2. Seh et al., Science 355 (2017) https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aad4998.
  3. H. Park, A. Encinas, J. P. Scheifers, Y. Zhang and B. P. T. Fokwa, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 56 (2017), https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.201611756.