Synthesis, Characterization, and Properties of Metal Phosphide Catalysts for the Hydrogen-Evolution Reaction

Juan F. Callejas, Carlos G. Read, Christopher W. Roske, Nathan S. Lewis, Raymond E. Schaak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

519 Scopus citations


Hydrogen gas obtained by the electrolysis of water has long been proposed as a clean and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Noble metals such as Pt are capable of splitting water at low overpotentials, but the implementation of inexpensive solar-driven water-splitting systems and electrolyzers could benefit from the development of robust, efficient, and abundant alternatives to noble metal catalysts. Transition metal phosphides (MxPy) have recently been identified as a promising family of Earth abundant electrocatalysts for the hydrogen-evolution reaction (HER) and are capable of operating with low overpotentials at operationally relevant current densities while exhibiting stability under strongly acidic conditions. In this review, we highlight the progress that has been made in this field and provide insights into the synthesis, characterization, and electrochemical behavior of transition metal phosphides as HER electrocatalysts. We also discuss strategies for the incorporation of metal phosphides into integrated solar-driven water-splitting systems and highlight key considerations involved in the testing and benchmarking of such devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6017-6044
Number of pages28
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 13 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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