Monitoring Hydrogen Evolution Reaction Intermediates of Transition Metal Dichalcogenides via Operando Raman Spectroscopy
Adv. Funct. Mater. 2020, 2003035
A deeper understanding of the water‐splitting hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) mechanism during photocatalytic processes is crucial for the rational design of efficient photocatalysts. In particular, the HER mechanism promoted by multielement hybrid structures remains extremely challenging and elusive. Herein, an in situ photoelectrochemical/Raman measurement system is employed to monitor the HER mechanism of hybrid nanostructures under realistic working conditions via operando Raman spectra and linear‐sweep voltammetry curves. As a proof of concept, tunable composition transition metal dichalcogenides MoS2xSe2(1−x) nanosheets are used as a model photocatalyst to unveil the corresponding photocatalytic mechanism. The spectroscopic studies reveal that hydrogen atoms can be adsorbed to active sulfur and selenium atoms via intermediate species formed during the photocatalytic process. More importantly, the studies demonstrate that an exponential relationship exists between the number of reactive electrons and the Raman intensity of intermediate species, which can serve as a guideline to directly evaluate the HER performance in photocatalysts by comparing the Raman intensities of the intermediate species. As a simple, intuitive, and general analytical method, the designed operando Raman measurement approach provides a new tool for elucidating catalytic reaction mechanisms in a realistic and complex environment; and strategically improving H2 production performance of multielement photocatalysts.