Thin-film ruthenium (Ru) and copper (Cu) binary alloys have been prepared on a Teflon™ backing layer by cosputtering of the precious and nonprecious metals, respectively. Alloys were then selectively dealloyed by sulfuric acid as an etchant, and their hydrogen generation catalysts performances were evaluated. Sputtering time and power of Cu atoms have been varied in order to tailor the hydrogen generation performances. Similarly, dealloying time and the sulfuric acid concentration have also been altered to tune the morphologies of the resulted films. A maximum hydrogen generation rate of 35 mL min−1
was achieved when Cu sputtering power and time were 200 W and 60 min and while acid concentration and dealloying time were 18 M and 90 min, respectively. It has also been demonstrated that the Ru content in the alloy after dealloying gradually increased with the increasing the sputtering power of Cu. After 90 min dealloying, the Ru to Cu ratio increased to about 190 times that of bare alloy. This is the key issue for observing higher catalytic activity. Interestingly, we have also presented template-free nanoforest-like structure formation within the context of one-step alloying and dealloying used in this study. Last but not least, the long-time hydrogen generation performances of the catalysts system have also been evaluated along 3600 min. During the first 600 min, the catalytic activity was quite stable, while about 24% of the catalytic activity decayed after 3000 min, which still makes these systems available for the development of robust catalyst systems in the area of hydrogen generation.
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