Fabrication of Highly Textured 2D SnSe Layers with Tunable Electronic Properties for Hydrogen Evolution


Hydrogen is regarded to be one of the most promising renewable and clean energy sources. Finding a highly efficient and cost-effective catalyst to generate hydrogen via water splitting has become a research hotspot. Two-dimensional materials with exotic structural and electronic properties have been considered as economical alternatives. In this work, 2D SnSe films with high quality of crystallinity were grown on a mica substrate via molecular beam epitaxy. The electronic property of the prepared SnSe thin films can be easily and accurately tuned in situ by three orders of magnitude through the controllable compensation of Sn atoms. The prepared film normally exhibited p-type conduction due to the deficiency of Sn in the film during its growth. First-principle calculations explained that Sn vacancies can introduce additional reactive sites for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) and enhance the HER performance by accelerating electron migration and promoting continuous hydrogen generation, which was mirrored by the reduced Gibbs free energy by a factor of 2.3 as compared with the pure SnSe film. The results pave the way for synthesized 2D SnSe thin films in the applications of hydrogen production.

Funding source: National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 52062045 and 12047575), the Central Government Funds for Local Scientific and Technological Development (No. XZ202101YD0019C), and the Central Government Funds for the Reform and Development of Local Colleges and Universities (No. ZCKJ 2020-11).
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain

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