An efficient three-dimensional (3D) hybrid material of nitrogen-doped graphene sheets (N-RGO) supporting molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) nanoparticles with high-performance electrocatalytic activity for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) is fabricated by using a facile hydrothermal route. Comprehensive microscopic and spectroscopic characterizations confirm the resulting hybrid material possesses a 3D crumpled few-layered graphene network structure decorated with MoS2 nanoparticles. Electrochemical characterization analysis reveals that the resulting hybrid material exhibits efficient electrocatalytic activity toward HER under acidic conditions with a low onset potential of 112 mV and a small Tafel slope of 44 mV per decade. The enhanced mechanism of electrocatalytic activity has been investigated in detail by controlling the elemental composition, electrical conductance and surface morphology of the 3D hybrid as well as Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculations. This demonstrates that the abundance of exposed active sulfur edge sites in the MoS2 and nitrogen active functional moieties in N-RGO are synergistically responsible for the catalytic activity, whilst the distinguished and coherent interface in MoS2/N-RGO facilitates the electron transfer during electrocatalysis. Our study gives insights into the physical/chemical mechanism of enhanced HER performance in MoS2/N-RGO hybrids and illustrates how to design and construct a 3D hybrid to maximize the catalytic efficiency.
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Supplementary Information: http://www.nature.com/article-assets/npg/srep/2015/151207/srep17542/extref/srep17542-s1.doc