Single Atoms and Clusters Based Nanomaterials for Hydrogen Evolution, Oxygen Evolution Reactions, and Full Water Splitting

Siraj Sultan, Jitendra N. Tiwari*, Aditya Narayan Singh, Shynggys Zhumagali, Miran Ha, Chang Woo Myung, Pandiarajan Thangavel, Kwang S. Kim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

537 Scopus citations


The sustainable and scalable production of hydrogen through hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) and oxygen through oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in water splitting demands efficient and robust electrocatalysts. Currently, state-of-the-art electrocatalysts of Pt and IrO2/RuO2 exhibit the benchmark catalytic activity toward HER and OER, respectively. However, expanding their practical application is hindered by their exorbitant price and scarcity. Therefore, the development of alternative effective electrocatalysts for water splitting is crucial. In the last few decades, substantial effort has been devoted to the development of alternative HER/OER and water splitting catalysts based on various transition metals (including Fe, Co, Ni, Mo, and atomic Pt) which show promising catalytic activities and durability. In this review, after a brief introduction and basic mechanism of HER/OER, the authors systematically discuss the recent progress in design, synthesis, and application of single atom and cluster-based HER/OER and water splitting catalysts. Moreover, the crucial factors that can tune the activity of catalysts toward HER/OER and water splitting such as morphology, crystal defects, hybridization of metals with nonmetals, heteroatom doping, alloying, and formation of metals inside graphitic layered materials are discussed. Finally, the existing challenges and future perspectives for improving the performance of electrocatalysts for water splitting are addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1900624
JournalAdvanced Energy Materials
Issue number22
StatePublished - Jun 12 2019


  • hydrogen evolution reaction
  • nanoclusters
  • oxygen evolution reaction
  • single atom catalysts
  • whole water splitting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Materials Science


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