Near-infrared–driven decomposition of metal precursors yields amorphous electrocatalytic films

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Science Advances  06 Mar 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 2, e1400215
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1400215

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Amorphous metal-based films lacking long-range atomic order have found utility in applications ranging from electronics applications to heterogeneous catalysis. Notwithstanding, there is a limited set of fabrication methods available for making amorphous films, particularly in the absence of a conducting substrate. We introduce herein a scalable preparative method for accessing oxidized and reduced phases of amorphous films that involves the efficient decomposition of molecular precursors, including simple metal salts, by exposure to near-infrared (NIR) radiation. The NIR-driven decomposition process provides sufficient localized heating to trigger the liberation of the ligand from solution-deposited precursors on substrates, but insufficient thermal energy to form crystalline phases. This method provides access to state-of-the-art electrocatalyst films, as demonstrated herein for the electrolysis of water, and extends the scope of usable substrates to include nonconducting and temperature-sensitive platforms.

  • electrocatalysis
  • solar fuels

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