On the origin of the improved hydrogen evolution reaction in Mn- and Co-doped MoS2

Pasquale Orgiani, Luca Braglia, Vincent Polewczyk, Zhiwei Nie, Francesco Lavini, Shyni Punathum Chalil, Sandeep Kumar Chaluvadi, Piu Rajak, Floriana Morabito, Edvard Dobovičnik, Vittorio Foglietti, Piero Torelli, Elisa Riedo, Regina Ciancio, Nan Yang, Carmela Aruta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the field of hydrogen production, MoS2 demonstrates good catalytic properties for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) which improve when doped with metal cations. However, while the role of sulfur atoms as active sites in the HER is largely reported, the role of metal atoms (i.e. molybdenum or the dopant cations) has yet to be studied in depth. To understand the role of the metal dopant, we study MoS2 thin films doped with Co and Mn ions. We identify the contribution of the electronic bands of the Mn and Co dopants to the integral valence band of the material using in situ resonant photoemission measurements. We demonstrate that Mn and Co dopants act differently: Mn doping favors the shift of the S-Mo hybridized band towards the Fermi level, while in the case of Co doping it is the less hybridized Co band that shifts closer to the Fermi level. Doping with Mn increases the effectiveness of S as the active site, thus improving the HER, while doping with Co introduces the metallic site of Co as the active site, which is less effective in improving HER properties. We therefore clarify the role of the dopant cation in the electronic structure determining the active site for hydrogen adsorption/desorption. Our results pave the way for the design of efficient materials for hydrogen production via the doping route, which can be extended to different catalytic reactions in the field of energy applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12237-12247
Number of pages11
Issue number25
StatePublished - May 24 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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