Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz Previously Published Works bannerUC Santa Cruz

Ruthenium atomically dispersed in carbon outperforms platinum toward hydrogen evolution in alkaline media.


Hydrogen evolution reaction is an important process in electrochemical energy technologies. Herein, ruthenium and nitrogen codoped carbon nanowires are prepared as effective hydrogen evolution catalysts. The catalytic performance is markedly better than that of commercial platinum catalyst, with an overpotential of only -12 mV to reach the current density of 10 mV cm-2 in 1 M KOH and -47 mV in 0.1 M KOH. Comparisons with control experiments suggest that the remarkable activity is mainly ascribed to individual ruthenium atoms embedded within the carbon matrix, with minimal contributions from ruthenium nanoparticles. Consistent results are obtained in first-principles calculations, where RuCxNy moieties are found to show a much lower hydrogen binding energy than ruthenium nanoparticles, and a lower kinetic barrier for water dissociation than platinum. Among these, RuC2N2 stands out as the most active catalytic center, where both ruthenium and adjacent carbon atoms are the possible active sites.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View