Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol.142, No.3, 1247-1253, 2020
Rational Synthesis for a Noble Metal Carbide
Transition metal carbides have attractive physical and chemical properties that are much different from their parent metals. Particularly, noble metal carbides are expected to be promising materials for a variety of applications, particularly as efficient catalysts. However, noble metal carbides have rarely been obtained because carbide phases do not appear in noble metal-carbon phase diagrams and a reasonable synthesis method to make noble metal carbides has not yet been established. Here, we propose a new synthesis method for noble metal carbides and describe the first synthesis of rhodium carbide using tetracyanoethylene (TCNE). The rhodium carbide was synthesized without extreme conditions, such as the very high temperature and/or pressure typically required in conventional carbide syntheses. Moreover, we investigated the electronic structure and catalytic activity for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). We found that rhodium carbide has much higher catalytic activity for HER than pure Rh. Our study provides a feasible strategy to create new metal carbides to help advance the field of materials science.