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Research Article

Morphology and strain control of hierarchical cobalt oxide nanowire electrocatalysts via solvent effect

Xiuming Bu1,2,§Xiongyi Liang1,§Kingsley O. Egbo2Zebiao Li1You Meng1Quan Quan1Yang Yang Li1Kin Man Yu2Chi-Man Lawrence Wu1( )Johnny C. Ho1,3( )
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, China
Department of Physics, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR , China
State Key Laboratory of Terahertz and Millimeter Waves, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, China

§ Xiuming Bu and Xiongyi Liang contributed equally to this work.

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Abstract

Designing highly efficient and low-cost electrocatalysts for oxygen evolution reaction is important for many renewable energy applications. In particular, strain engineering has been demonstrated as a powerful strategy to enhance the electrochemical performance of catalysts; however, the required complex catalyst preparation process restricts the implementation of strain engineering. Herein, we report a simple self-template method to prepare hierarchical porous Co3O4 nanowires (PNWs) with tunable compressive strain via thermal-oxidation-transformation of easily prepared oxalic acid-cobalt nitrate (Co(NO3)2) composite nanowires. Based on the complementary theoretical and experimental studies, the selection of proper solvents in the catalyst preparation is not only vital for the hierarchical structural evolution of Co3O4 but also for regulating their compressive surface strain. Because of the rich surface active sites and optimized electronic Co d band centers, the PNWs exhibit the excellent activity and stability for oxygen evolution reaction, delivering a low overpotential of 319 mV at 10 mA·cm-2 in 1 M KOH with a mass loading 0.553 mg·cm-2, which is even better than the noble metal catalyst of RuO2. This work provides a cost-effective example of porous Co3O4 nanowire preparation as well as a promising method for modification of surface strain for the enhanced electrochemical performance.

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Nano Research
Pages 3130-3136
Cite this article:
Bu X, Liang X, Egbo KO, et al. Morphology and strain control of hierarchical cobalt oxide nanowire electrocatalysts via solvent effect. Nano Research, 2020, 13(11): 3130-3136. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12274-020-2983-6
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Received: 30 April 2020
Revised: 25 June 2020
Accepted: 12 July 2020
Published: 15 August 2020
© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020
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