Electrochemical water splitting has been considered as a promising approach to produce clean and sustainable hydrogen fuel. However, the lack of high-performance and low-cost electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution reaction hinders the large-scale application. As a new class of porous materials with tunable structure and composition, metal-organic frameworks have been considered as promising candidates to synthesize various functional materials. Here we demonstrate a metal-organic frameworks-assisted strategy for synthesizing nanostructured transition metal carbides based on the confined carburization in metal-organic frameworks matrix. Starting from a compound consisting of copper-based metal-organic frameworks host and molybdenum-based polyoxometalates guest, mesoporous molybdenum carbide nano-octahedrons composed of ultrafine nanocrystallites are successfully prepared as a proof of concept, which exhibit remarkable electrocatalytic performance for hydrogen production from both acidic and basic solutions. The present study provides some guidelines for the design and synthesis of nanostructured electrocatalysts.
There is extensive research into non-platinum electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution. Here, the authors report a molybdenum carbide catalyst, prepared via the carburization of a copper metal-organic framework host/molybdenum-based polyoxometalates guest system, and demonstrate its catalytic activity.