Single-Site, Single-Metal-Atom, Heterogeneous Electrocatalyst: Metal–Organic-Framework Supported Molybdenum Sulfide for Redox Mediator-Assisted Hydrogen Evolution Reaction

Hyunho Noh, Ying Yang, Xuan Zhang, Timothy A. Goetjen, Zoha H. Syed, Zhiyong Lu, Sol Ahn, Omar K. Farha, Joseph T. Hupp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Synthesis of single-site catalysts, whereby the local structure and surrounding chemical environments are identical, has been challenging, particularly in heterogeneous catalysis, as the support often presents spectrum of chemically distinct binding sites. Yet, the above criteria are crucial in attributing the apparent catalytic performance to the structural motif. The presented work augments on our previous work using monometallic molybdenum sulfide tethered within a zirconium-based metal-organic framework (MOF), NU-1000; the monometallic nature enables all presented sites to be catalytically addressable. As the molybdenum sulfide species resided within two distinct pores (micro- and mesopores) of the MOF support, we have imparted uniformity in the local chemical environment by reducing the pore heterogeneity down to a single mesopore. Single-site and single-atom nature of the candidate catalyst was established via X-ray diffraction measurements. Redox mediators were implemented, which, under reductive potentials, provide reduced species; they can effectively deliver the necessary reducing equivalences to the catalytic units that can otherwise not be addressed electrochemically due to the low electron mobility within the framework. Our results indicate the micropore-allocated molybdenum sulfide is approximately four times more active as that in mesopores, whereas its catalytic mechanism is identical, underscoring the importance of controlling chemical environment beyond the active site.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-516
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 17 2020



  • electrocatalysis
  • hydrogen evolution reaction
  • metal**organic framework
  • molybdenum sulfide
  • redox mediator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Electrochemistry

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