Some thoughts about reporting the electrocatalytic performance of nanomaterials

Danlei Li, Christopher Batchelor-McAuley, Richard G. Compton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

66 Citations (Scopus)


In reading the ever expanding literature on electrocatalysts, we have become startled by the weakness of the electrochemistry often presented, which in some (many?) cases entirely negates the value of the work. In particular, we have been stimulated to consider the topic of this article by an Editorial (Voiry, Chhowalla et al., 2018, 12, 9635-9638) in ACS Nano which recently provided ‘guidance’ on the ‘best practices’ for the measuring and reporting the activity of new electrocatalytic materials. From an electrochemical perspective, at least, contrasting views need to be presented since the suggestions provided are, in places, at odds with conventional wisdom or, more bluntly stated, simply wrong! In the following we do not seek to provide an alternative set of ‘best practice guidelines’ nor a ‘set of materials characterization requisites’ – this is likely ultimately an appropriate activity for an IUPAC committee – but rather correct, amplify and develop the discussion provided by the editors of ACS Nano highlighting areas where we believe additional input is desirable and helpful.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100404
JournalApplied Materials Today
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Characterization of nanomaterials
  • Electrochemical surface area
  • Exchange current density
  • Onset potential
  • Overpotential
  • Standard potential
  • Tafel analysis


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