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How Stable Are 2H-MoS2 Edges Under Hydrogen Evolution Reaction Conditions?

Abstract

MoS<sub>2</sub>, have emerged as a promising class of electrocatalysts for the production of H<sub>2</sub> via the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) in acidic conditions.<div>The edges of MoS<sub>2</sub> are known for their HER activity, but their precise atomistic nature and stability under HER conditions is not yet known. In contrast to other typical uses of MoS<sub>2</sub> as a catalyst, under HER there is no external source of sulfur. Therefore, the sulfidation of the edges can only decrease under operating conditions and the thermodynamics of the process are somewhat ill-defined. Our results suggest that the 50%S S-edge may be active for HER via the Volmer-Tafel mechanism and is, despite a high H coverage, stable with respect to H<sub>2</sub>S release. </div><div>At the 50%S Mo-edge, the adsorbed hydrogen opens the way for H<sub>2</sub>S release, leading to the 0%S Mo-edge, which was previously investigated and found to be HER active. HER being a water-based process, we also considered the effect of the presence of H<sub>2</sub>O and the in-situ formation of OH. For the 50%S Mo-edge, H<sub>2</sub>O is only very weakly adsorbed and OH formation is unfavorable. Nevertheless, OH assists the loss of sulfur coverage, leading to OH-based HER active sites. In contrast, OH is strongly adsorbed on the 50%S S-edge. By explicitly considering the electrochemical potential using grand-canonical density functional theory, we unveil that the Volmer-Heyrovsky mechanism on sulfur sites is still accessible in the presence of surface OH at the 50%S S-edge. However, the 50%S S-edge is found to be mildly unstable with respect to H<sub>2</sub>S in the presence of water/OH. Hence, we suggest that the 50%S S-edge evolves over time towards a 0%S S-edge, covered by surface OH that will block permanently the active sites. </div>

Version notes

Improved contextualisation and addition of an example.

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