Duan Research Group

Hetero-integrated Nanostructures and Nanodevices


Determining the hydronium pKα at platinum surfaces and the effect on pH-dependent hydrogen evolution reaction kinetics

Guangyan Zhong, Tao Cheng, Aamir Hassan Shah, Chengzhang Wan, Zhihong Huang, Sibo Wang, Tianle Leng, Yu Huang, William A Goddard III, Xiangfeng Duan

PNAS 119, e2208187119 (2022)

Electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) exhibits distinct pH-dependent kinetics that have been elusive to understand. Understanding the electrochemical interfaces is essential for developing more efficient electrochemical processes. In this research, we combine experiment and theory to establish a molecular-level understanding of the electrochemical interfaces. An exclusively surface-specific electrical transport spectroscopy approach probes the Pt-surface water protonation status and experimentally determines the surface hydronium pKα = 4.3. These insights offer a molecular-level interpretation of pH-dependent HER kinetics and may help design improved electrocatalysts for renewable energy conversion.
UCLA, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
607 Charles E. Young Drive East, Box 951569
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569
E-mail: xduan@chem.ucla.edu