Surface engineering for stable electrocatalysis

Chem Soc Rev. 2024 Mar 4;53(5):2693-2737. doi: 10.1039/d3cs00292f.


In recent decades, significant progress has been achieved in rational developments of electrocatalysts through constructing novel atomistic structures and modulating catalytic surface topography, realizing substantial enhancement in electrocatalytic activities. Numerous advanced catalysts were developed for electrochemical energy conversion, exhibiting low overpotential, high intrinsic activity, and selectivity. Yet, maintaining the high catalytic performance under working conditions with high polarization and vigorous microkinetics that induce intensive degradation of surface nanostructures presents a significant challenge for commercial applications. Recently, advanced operando and computational techniques have provided comprehensive mechanistic insights into the degradation of surficial functional structures. Additionally, various innovative strategies have been devised and proven effective in sustaining electrocatalytic activity under harsh operating conditions. This review aims to discuss the most recent understanding of the degradation microkinetics of catalysts across an entire range of anodic to cathodic polarizations, encompassing processes such as oxygen evolution and reduction, hydrogen reduction, and carbon dioxide reduction. Subsequently, innovative strategies adopted to stabilize the materials' structure and activity are highlighted with an in-depth discussion of the underlying rationale. Finally, we present conclusions and perspectives regarding future research and development. By identifying the research gaps, this review aims to inspire further exploration of surface degradation mechanisms and rational design of durable electrocatalysts, ultimately contributing to the large-scale utilization of electroconversion technologies.

Publication types

  • Review