Efficient and durable electrocatalysts with superior activity are needed for the production of green hydrogen with a high yield and low energy consumption. Electrocatalysts based on transition metal oxides hold dominance due to their abundant natural resources, regulable physical properties, and good adaptation to a solution. In numerous oxide catalyst materials, ferroelectrics, possessing semiconducting characteristics and switchable spontaneous polarization, have been considered promising photoelectrodes for solar water splitting. However, few investigations noted their potential as electrocatalysts. In this study, we report an efficient electrocatalytic electrode made of a BiFeO3/nickel foam heterostructure, which displays a smaller overpotential and higher current density than the blank nickel foam electrode. Moreover, when in contact with an alkaline solution, the bond between hydroxyls and the BiFeO3 surface induces a large area of upward self-polarization, lowering the adsorption energy of subsequent adsorbates and facilitating oxygen and hydrogen evolution reaction. Our work demonstrates an infrequent pathway of using functional semiconducting materials for exploiting highly efficient electrocatalytic electrodes.
- ferroelectric electrocatalysts
- hydroxyl-bonded surface
- water electrolysis
- oxygen evolutionreaction(OER),hydrogenevolution reaction(HER)