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Molecular Insight in Structure and Activity of Highly Efficient, Low-Ir Ir–Ni Oxide Catalysts for Electrochemical Water Splitting (OER)

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Cherevko,  Serhiy
Electrocatalysis, Interface Chemistry and Surface Engineering, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Max Planck Society;

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Jones,  Travis
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Teschner,  Detre
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Schlögl,  Robert
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Mayrhofer,  Karl Johann Jakob
Electrocatalysis, Interface Chemistry and Surface Engineering, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Reier, T., Pawolek, Z., Cherevko, S., Bruns, M., Jones, T., Teschner, D., et al. (2015). Molecular Insight in Structure and Activity of Highly Efficient, Low-Ir Ir–Ni Oxide Catalysts for Electrochemical Water Splitting (OER). Journal of the American Chemical Society, 137(40), 133031-13040. doi:10.1021/jacs.5b07788.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0028-5452-8
Abstract
Mixed bimetallic oxides offer great opportunities for a systematic tuning of electrocatalytic activity and stability. Here, we demonstrate the power of this strategy using well-defined thermally prepared Ir-Ni mixed oxide thin film catalysts for the electrochemical oxygen evolution reaction (OER) under highly corrosive conditions such as in acidic proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers and photo-electrochemical cell (PEC) anodes. Variation of the Ir to Ni ratio resulted in a volcano type OER activity curve with an unprecedented 20-fold improvement in Ir mass-based activity over Ir oxide. In-situ spectroscopic probing of metal dissolution indicated that, against common views, activity and stability are not directly anti-correlated. To uncover activity and stability controlling parameters, the Ir-Ni mixed thin oxide film catalysts were characterized by a wide array of spectroscopic, microscopic, scattering, and electrochemical techniques in conjunction with DFT theoretical computations. By means of an intuitive model for the formation of the catalytically active state of the bimetallic Ir-Ni oxide surface we identify the coverage of reactive surface hydroxyl groups as a suitable descriptor for activity and stability and relate it to controllable synthetic parameters. Overall, our study highlights a novel, highly active oxygen evolution catalyst; moreover, it provides novel important insight in the structure and performance of bimetallic oxide OER electrocatalysts in corrosive acid environments.