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Dynamic carbon surface chemistry: Revealing the role of carbon in electrolytic water oxidation

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Klyushin,  Alexander
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;
Research Group Catalysis for Energy, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH;

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Huang,  Xing
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Mom,  Rik
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;
Research Group Catalysis for Energy, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH;

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Schlögl,  Robert
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion;
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Ding, Y., Gu, Q., Klyushin, A., Huang, X., Choudhury, S. H., Spanos, I., et al. (2020). Dynamic carbon surface chemistry: Revealing the role of carbon in electrolytic water oxidation. Journal of Energy Chemistry, 47, 155-159. doi:10.1016/j.jechem.2019.12.006.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-81CB-4
Abstract
Carbon materials have been widely used as electrodes, but the mechanistic roles are still not clear due to the complexity of the carbon surface chemistry. Herein we clarify that intrinsic material properties of carbon have to be activated by extrinsic factors. Pure carbon has no catalytic activity when used as electrode for electrocatalytic water oxidation. The evolution of oxygen functional groups on the carbon surface with increasing potential and the subsequent formation of real active sites with iron impurities from the electrolyte have been confirmed. These in-situ formed active sites protect the carbon from deep oxidation. This unprecedented finding not only provides insight into the dynamic evolution of carbon electrode surface chemistry and raises awareness of the need for detailed surface analysis under operando conditions, but also suggests a direction for the development of scalable and high-performance carbon-based electrode systems for various electrochemical applications.