Research Groups Led by Professor Shao Mingwang and Professor Li Youyong at FUNSOM Published a Paper in Nature Communications

Recently, research groups led by Professor Shao Mingwang and Professor Li Youyong at Institute of Functional Nano & Soft Materials, Soochow University (FUNSOM) cooperated in making a breakthrough in electro-catalysis hydrogen evolution, and their research results were published in a journal called Nature Communications.

Fossil fuels lead to a deteriorating environment. Increasing attention has been paid to hydrogen, a kind of green and environment-friendly clean energy. In electrochemical hydrogen evolution, the choice of catalyst is decisive. Among the known catalysts, platinum-based catalyst is the best-performing catalyst, but this catalyst cannot be used widely due to the limited reserves of platinum.

Under the guidance of academician Li Shutang, this study, with cooperation with Professor YeshayahuLifshitz of Israel Institute of Technology, comes up with an innovative idea that using rhodium as the active center of adsorbed hydrogen and silicon as the site of desorbed hydrogen. Although platinum is performing better than silicon and rhodium, silicon-rhodium catalyst synergy supplied with a large current outperforms platinum. The specific catalytic mechanism has also been proved by density functional theory.

Therefore, the results of the study are significant: silicon nano materials were first reported to be used as a co-catalyst. The use of the precious metal rhodium also provides the method for the development of catalysts comprising no or a small amount of precious metal.

In recent years, research group led by Professor Shao Mingwang has published more than 180 papers in well-known international journals including Nat. Commun., J. Am. Chem. Soc., Angew. Chem. Int. Edit., Nano Lett. Research group led by Professor Li Youyong published more than 150 papers in international journals including Nat. Commun., J. Am. Chem. Soc., the ACS Nano, J. Phys. Chem. Lett. The published ground-breaking research results have been viewed a model for cooperation between two research groups.