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Ultrashort pulse laser-structured nickel surfaces as hydrogen evolution electrodes for alkaline water electrolysis

: Gabler, A.; Müller, C.I.; Rauscher, T.; Köhring, M.; Kieback, B.; Röntzsch, L.; Schade, W.


International journal of hydrogen energy 42 (2017), Nr.16, S.10826-10833
ISSN: 0360-3199
Fraunhofer HHI ()
Fraunhofer IFAM ()

In this study, we report on micro- and nanostructured Ni surfaces produced by an ultrashort pulse laser process as cathode materials for the alkaline electrolysis of water. We studied the influence of the laser-induced microstructure and surface morphology as well as a cyclic voltammetric activation process on the electrochemical activity of the hydrogen evolution reaction. Galvanostatic techniques, steady-state polarization curves to attain Tafel parameters and capacitance calculations via electrochemical impedance spectroscopy were used to analyze the electrodes. The analyses reveal that the ultrashort pulse laser process increases the specific surface on formerly flat Ni surfaces. Further, the cyclic voltammetric activation process gives rise to an increased intrinsic activity. Both effects lead to a strongly reduced overpotential value. This work demonstrates that different processes can be combined to dramatically boost the activity of Ni electrodes for the hydroge n evolution reaction.