The Origin of High Activity of Amorphous MoS2 in the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction

Longfei Wu, Alessandro Longo, Nelson Y. Dzade, Akhil Sharma, Marco M.R.M. Hendrix, Ageeth A. Bol, Nora H. de Leeuw, Emiel J.M. Hensen, Jan P. Hofmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) and related transition metal chalcogenides can replace expensive precious metal catalysts such as Pt for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). The relations between the nanoscale properties and HER activity of well-controlled 2H and Li-promoted 1T phases of MoS2, as well as an amorphous MoS2 phase, have been investigated and a detailed comparison is made on Mo−S and Mo−Mo bond analysis under operando HER conditions, which reveals a similar bond structure in 1T and amorphous MoS2 phases as a key feature in explaining their increased HER activity. Whereas the distinct bond structure in 1T phase MoS2 is caused by Li+ intercalation and disappears under harsh HER conditions, amorphous MoS2 maintains its intrinsic short Mo−Mo bond feature and, with that, its high HER activity. Quantum-chemical calculations indicate similar electronic structures of small MoS2 clusters serving as models for amorphous MoS2 and the 1T phase MoS2, showing similar Gibbs free energies for hydrogen adsorption (ΔGH*) and metallic character.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4383-4389
Number of pages7
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 8 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Energy(all)


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