Electronic structure modulation of MoS2 by substitutional Se incorporation and interfacial MoO3 hybridization: Implications of Fermi engineering for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution and oxygen evolution Academic Article uri icon


  • The design of earth-abundant electrocatalysts that can facilitate water splitting at low overpotentials, provide high current densities, and enable prolonged operational lifetimes is central to the production of sustainable fuels. The distinctive atomistic and electronic structure characteristics of the edges of MoS2 imbue high reactivity toward the hydrogen evolution reaction. MoS2 is nevertheless characterized by significantly high overpotentials as compared to platinum. Here, we demonstrate that modulation of the electronic structure of MoS2 through interfacial hybridization with MoO3 and alloying of selenium on the anion sublattice allows for systematic lowering of the conduction band edge and raising of the valence band edge, respectively. The former promotes enhanced electrocatalytic activity toward hydrogen evolution, whereas the latter promotes enhanced activity toward the oxygen evolution reaction. Such alloyed heterostructures prepared by sol-gel reactions and hydrothermal selenization expose a high density of edge sites. The alloyed heterostructures exhibit low overpotential, high current density, high turnover frequency, and prolonged operational lifetime. The mechanistic origins of catalytic activity have been established based on electronic structure calculations and x-ray absorption and emission spectroscopy probes of electronic structure, which suggest that interfacial hybridization at the MoO3 interface yields low-lying conduction band states that facilitate hydrogen adsorption. In contrast, shallow Se 4p-derived states give rise to a raised effective valence band maximum, which facilitates adsorption of oxygen intermediates and engenders a low overpotential for the oxygen evolution reaction. The findings illustrate the use of electronic structure modulation through interfacial hybridization and alloying to systematically improve electrocatalytic activity.

published proceedings

  • Chemical Physics Reviews

altmetric score

  • 12.15

author list (cited authors)

  • Parija, A., Zaheer, W., Cho, J., Alivio, T., Fakra, S. C., Al-Hashimi, M., Prendergast, D., & Banerjee, S.

citation count

  • 4

publication date

  • March 2021