Molecular engineering of a cobalt-based electrocatalytic nanomaterial for H₂ evolution under fully aqueous conditions

Nat Chem. 2013 Jan;5(1):48-53. doi: 10.1038/nchem.1481. Epub 2012 Oct 28.


The viability of a hydrogen economy depends on the design of efficient catalytic systems based on earth-abundant elements. Innovative breakthroughs for hydrogen evolution based on molecular tetraimine cobalt compounds have appeared in the past decade. Here we show that such a diimine-dioxime cobalt catalyst can be grafted to the surface of a carbon nanotube electrode. The resulting electrocatalytic cathode material mediates H(2) generation (55,000 turnovers in seven hours) from fully aqueous solutions at low-to-medium overpotentials. This material is remarkably stable, which allows extensive cycling with preservation of the grafted molecular complex, as shown by electrochemical studies, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy. This clearly indicates that grafting provides an increased stability to these cobalt catalysts, and suggests the possible application of these materials in the development of technological devices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Catalysis
  • Cobalt / chemistry*
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electrodes
  • Hydrogen / chemistry*
  • Imines / chemistry*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanotubes, Carbon / chemistry*
  • Organometallic Compounds / chemical synthesis
  • Organometallic Compounds / chemistry*
  • Water / chemistry*


  • Imines
  • Nanotubes, Carbon
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Water
  • Cobalt
  • Hydrogen

Associated data

  • PubChem-Substance/144221167
  • PubChem-Substance/144221168
  • PubChem-Substance/144221169
  • PubChem-Substance/144221170
  • PubChem-Substance/144221171
  • PubChem-Substance/144221172
  • PubChem-Substance/144221173
  • PubChem-Substance/144221174