Publication date: Oct 17, 2023
Co-based catalysts are promising candidates to replace the Ir/Ru-based oxides for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in an acidic environment. However, both the reaction mechanism and the active species in an acidic environment remain unclear. In this study, by combining surface-sensitive soft X-ray adsorption spectroscopy (sXAS) characterization with electrochemical analysis, we unveil the truly active Co species for acidic OER. Surfaces composed of only high-spin CoII are found to be not active due to their unfavorable deprotonation to form CoIII-OH species. In contrast, we show that the presence of low-spin CoIII is essential to promote surface reconstruction and catalysis of OER. The correlation between OER activity and Co oxidation/spin state represents a breakthrough in the structure-activity relationship of Co-based catalysts for acidic OER, which interestingly does not hold in the alkaline and neutral environments. These findings not only help to design efficient acidic OER catalysts, but also deepen the understanding of the reaction mechanism.
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Raw data for CoIIinacid.xlsx
|563.5 KiB||This file includes the raw data for the figures in the main test (Figures 1-4), including polarization curves, Tafel plots, Tafel slope and sXAS spectra, etc.|